$200m budget win for our region's ‘corridors of growth’
The federal government's major "refresh" of its Northern Australia development blueprint will include a new multimillion-dollar investment package focusing on "corridors of growth" - including Mt Isa to Townsville and Cairns to Gladstone.
The $190m funding pack, to be included in next week's federal budget, will be designed to "develop the north" by helping businesses diversify and expand through co-investment grants.
The investment will also target digital connectivity and mobile black spot improvements.
It is the first measure announced under the soon-to-be released refresh of the federal government's Northern Australia White Paper - the 20-year "ambitious agenda" aimed at developing investment, trade, infrastructure, and the workforce first released in 2015.
Northern Australia Minister Keith Pitt said over the next five years the government's plan is to be "more targeted" when it comes to growing the north, with funding to be focused on capitalising on the strength of regional areas.
Of the $190m, $111m will be direction to co-investment grants and $68.5m to improving digital connectivity.
A total of $9.3m will also be funnelled into a "corridors of growth" pilot program, with Mt Isa to Townsville, Cairns to Gladstone, the Beetaloo Basin to Darwin Port and Broome to Kununurra to Darwin to be included in stage 1.
Mr Pitt said the program would provide locally-based support for business development, across sectors including road, rail and energy.
"Our plan will stimulate growth, private sector participation and business opportunities right across the north as the nation moves beyond economic recovery toward a secure and sustained economy," he said.
"These investments will be made over the next five years to support the implementation of the 20 year White Paper on Developing Northern Australia that will see growth in jobs and the economies of the North.
The announcement comes as part of an apparent war chest of cash and disaster funding aimed at Northern Australia - like the $10bn reinsurance pool and creation of the $600m National Recovery and Resilience Agency - as the Morrison government seeks to shore up its vote in the region.
Originally published as $200m budget win for northern Australia's 'corridors of growth'