Senator deems the north a powerhouse for national economy

QUEENSLAND Senator Matt Canavan believes in the power of the north.

In a statement released to The Morning Bulletin yesterday, the Rockhampton-based Senator said Northern Australia was poised to become a "powerhouse" for the national economy.

The new Federal Budget that was released on Tuesday night welcomed a $5billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility which Mr Canavan said could be the starting point to drive development of Northern Australia and further expansion of the nation's economy.

"I agree with Treasurer Joe Hockey that the north is an exciting frontier for economic development, filled with abundant resources and talented people," Mr Canavan said.

"I believe it's poised to become a powerhouse for the Australian economy in the decades ahead."

On Tuesday night, Mr Hockey announced that the Commonwealth Government would partner with the private sector and the governments of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland to provide large concessional loans for the construction of ports, pipelines, electricity and water infrastructure in the north.

Mr Canavan had been calling for action on northern development since entering the Senate last year, with a major focus on the development of dams, roads and port facilities.

"There's plenty to do but I particularly want action on Urannah Dam, inland from Mackay and Proserpine, dams on the Fitzroy River system, including the Connors River Dam, and in the Gulf; sealing of the Hann Hwy north of Hughenden; expansion of the port of Karumba; and more beef development roads," Mr Canavan said.

"It's terrific that the government will provide $101.3million over four years from 2015-16 to improve cattle supply chains in the north, with a particular focus on road infrastructure. In the north, the greater the distance the greater the cost, and this investment will help bring down costs.

"This money will improve the productivity and resilience of cattle supply chains in Northern Australia, using CSIRO's logistics modelling and input from livestock transport and beef industry experts.

"Attracting private investment to develop the north will be crucial but we will also need to provide public infrastructure."



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