Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Friday, November 23, 2007

Northern Myths - or a new reality?

The vast expanses of Northern Australia have long been seen as an un-tapped territory with huge potential. Yet the reality has been far from this - the North is littered with failed dreams.

Slowly, the old myths may be becoming a reality. Mining, tourism and defence have provided key economic drivers, leading to considerable if still patchy development. Now, partially influenced by debate about climate change, the expansion of agricultural activities has again emerged as a topic of debate.

Again, this is not new. What is new, to my mind, is the way in which supporting infrastructure has slowly evolved. This should not be over-stated. The North is still remote to those in the deep south. However, development tends to build on itself, creating further building blocks. I can see this happening.

As it does, new opportunities open up. Without being too prescriptive about it, my feeling is that the next two decades will come to be seen as the Northern development decades, the period in which Australia's focus shifted in part from south to north.

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