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The Coalition's developmentalism « Previous | |Next »
February 7, 2013

A leaked draft discussion paper ---"Developing Northern Australia - a 2030 vision ---- reveals Coalition draft plans to create a new economic zone in northern Australia and to compulsory move thousands of public sector jobs to north of the Tropic of Capricorn to Darwin, Cairns, Townsville or Karratha.

The aim is to boost populations in those areas through immigration policies, relocation allowances, and personal income tax incentives. The paper also indicates that $800m of foreign aid money would be redirected to build tropical health centres and increase medical training opportunities, and a relocation of hundreds of public servants.

MoirAAbbottNT.jpg Alan Moir

It is a plan to transform the nation by rapidly developing its least populated regions. There'd be new dams, PNG hydro-electricity to supply baseload power and a 15 year 'rolling priority list' of infrastructure spending. The big government interevention is supported by the free market Institute of Public Affairs. So much for their commitment to market based solutions.

The proposal includes:

– Developing a food bowl including premium produce which could double Australia's agricultural output.

– Growing the tourist economy in the north to $100 billion and 2.5 million tourists.

– The growth of an energy export industry worth $150 billion with a major proportion of sustainable energy.

– Tripling of resource exports, adding over $100 billion to the economy.

– Relocation of defence facilities to the north to support our strategic and regional objectives and allies.

– Establishing at least two world class medical centres of excellence in the north.

– Creating three to five leading vocational and higher education campuses with world class strengths in selected areas.

– Growing Australia's exports of technical skills related to resources and agriculture to a $7 billion industry.

It's a mixture of 1950s style developmentalism and Gina Rinehart's northern economic zone with its different tax laws, different tax zones and maximising the profits.

This northern development old style developmentalism because holds that the northern parts of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia are the "last frontier". It is in the same vein as turning back the rivers and building the Ord River dam in the Kimberleys.

This food bowl and dams is in the form of the cornucopian 'Australia Unlimited' dreaming. The north is underdeveloped; the land is there; just add water. And we have large-scale irrigated agriculture in northern Australia. The dream is the massive transformation of landscapes akin to that of the Murray-Darling Basin--ie., large scale land clearing and weakening environmental laws

To make the most of these foodbowl for Asia opportunities, the anti-development ideology that has locked up large tracts of northern Australia must end so that Big Agriculture can overcome the Green's irrational aversion to building new dams. However, the CSIRO argued, based on its research for the Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce, that northern Australia is “water limited” thanks to high evaporation rates (of water in dams) and a lack of rainfall for six months of the year. They say:

The north’s annual floods make people and places inaccessible, render much of the landscape unsuitable for development, and are responsible for the teeming fish stocks of the north’s rivers and oceans. The north’s annual droughts make large parts of the landscape unattractive to humans, inhospitable for animals and present a considerable impediment to development.

Northern Australia will not be the food bowl of Asia, simply because it doesn’t have the amount of water and land to spread irrigation without doing major damage to our rivers, and to the countryside.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:58 PM | | Comments (8)
Comments

Comments

Developing Northern Australia: Vision 2030 is a modern version of the old dig it up, cut it down, ship it away resource economy.

The northern Australian culture and economy is already heavily based on natural resources, especially water. A tropical foodbowl is not feasible due to poor soils, harsh weather, long distances to markets, and the importance of protecting environmental, cultural and recreational values.

These would be the small government, free market guys, correct?

Except of course when there's a taxpayer dollar to transfer to the corporate sector.

Ken,
I reckon they are being funded by Big Mining. The piper calls the tune and the IPA dances.

I rarely get anything less than a smile from Ken L's takes on these sorts of things.
Wagons Ho!

Developmentalism for the Nationals is all about building dams in Queensland.

Here's what the Coalition means by developmentalism----a plan to build up to 100 dams across Australia and create a new foodbowl in the north –as part of a plan to prevent floods, fuel power stations and irrigate food bowls at a cost of $30 billion.

One of the projects in the Coalition's 100 dams policy involves transporting water from the Kimberley region, 1500km to Perth, using canals, pipelines and ocean super tankers or large synthetic bags towed behind tug boats.