Monday, February 08, 2010

North Australia Land and Water Taskforce Reports

Now available here -

There are additional reports on the main web site see -

It is not as gloomy as early media reports were indicating.

Mosaic development and some modest expansion are likely, but a more detailed examination of the report is still to come. Local commentators in the NT are mostly positive, especially those closely connected to industry. A few politicians are not positive, but I would suggest they are not being realists.

As a player in north Australia for 30+ years, I among many, realised a long time ago that broad sweep development was highly improbable. There would never be the broad expanse of a US or Canadian prairie type development for agriculture. Tyranny of distance will nearly always influence issues - smaller, dense, high priced commodities would drive agriculture, or the opposite - large areas of ultra low cost production - typically livestock production, were seen many years ago as the likely options. This report seems to confirm that, with a lot of options in between or influencing the structure of the business model. In this scenario, then may be little that may have changed.

However, indigenous participation will increase significantly in coming years, across a range of different models of involvement. That will be a positive thing. Yet the north will remain mostly lightly inhabited, and no doubt those open spaces may be inviting to outsiders.

There is more R and D to do if the vision is to realised.

No doubt the report will be debated across north Australia, at least in the near term.

BUT...........action to capitalise on the outcomes and actually implement development is still urgently needed. Not necessarily today.........but soon.

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