Public hearings are underway for the Australian Parliament’s Northern Australia Committee Inquiry into the development of Northern Australia. The program includes hearings during May in Broome, Kunanurra, Alice Springs, Darwin, Gove and Katherine.
The Committee has been tasked with helping to define the future of Australia’s North as a region vital to the economic future of the nation. Programs and some of the transcripts from earlier public hearings are available on the Parliamentary website, as well as the 247 submissions received by the Committee.
The Alliance's submission addressed the terms of reference under the following headings: developing the region’s health and related industries; overarching policies to enhance health and other industry development; and critical economic and social infrastructure for health and wellbeing as part of long-term growth. The submission drew on, among other things, recommendations from recent National Rural Health Conferences relating to such things as the development of infrastructure, transport and accommodation services, environmental sustainability and education and research.
The imperative for population and economic growth within Australia is strong, but increased economic or population size does not necessarily translate into increased sustainability. The further development of Northern Australia should be part of a national effort to redistribute the nation's economic base, population and life chances – rather than merely part of a growth agenda.