Independent Strategic Analysis of Australia’s Global Interests

Northern and Regional Australia


The region of Australia north of the Tropic of Capricorn provides a wealth of economic opportunities for our nation. It is also strategically important for the role it plays in border protection and as an interface for broader engagement with neighbouring states and the wider region. Northern Australia is also home to many defence establishments and critical energy infrastructure projects. This part of Australia covers nearly three-million square kilometres and, if it was a country in its own right, it would be the eighth largest in the world. Energy, minerals, water resources, fisheries, tourism, agricultural and pastoral sectors all contribute significantly to the economic wealth and potential of Northern Australia.

Opportunities, however, come with challenges. They include the need for better services, tackling environmental pressures, and improved infrastructure to support the future economic potential of Northern Australia. Development must be achieved in close consultation with, and the support of, Indigenous communities with specific and unique social requirements. It is a challenging and at times, harsh environment demanding scientifically informed stewardship of it’s agricultural, pastoral and wilderness landscapes and soils.

For all the above reasons, a detailed knowledge of the factors shaping Northern Australia and the care of land and soil is important. Accordingly, FDI asks the following question:

Do known and possible changing global, regional, domestic and environmental conditions over the coming decades require Australia to consider its options in relation to the continent’s northern regions through a process that evaluates challenges and opportunities?

In answering the above, the following major factors will be investigated:

  • Determining the potential of the resources sector, including minerals and energy, the agricultural and pastoral sectors, tourism, fisheries and water;
  • Managing sustainably and enhancing landscape and soils;
  • Considering the security and geostrategic issues, including the threats, risks and challenges to developing the region determining appropriate counter measures;
  • Identifying governance structures that would best allow Northern Australia to realise its full economic potential;
  • Identifying the opportunities of developing the region for all of Australia; and
  • Considering population, employment, and value added incentives to work.

If you would like to receive regular analytical papers on future directions for Northern Australia or would like to contribute an article for publication by FDI, please contact us:

Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +61 (0)8 6389 0211

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