Policy, finance and governance in northern Australia: towards reform

Langmead, Tim, Dale, Allan, Proctor, Tony, Clough, Peter, Marsh, Ian, Grabbe, John, Guerin, Mike, Archer, Jack, Wallace, Ruth, and Hill, Jenny (2014) Policy, finance and governance in northern Australia: towards reform. Report. ADC Forum Policy, Governance and Finance Working Group , Canberra, ACT, Australia.

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The national mandate to develop northern Australia presents significant opportunities and many challenges that must and can be overcome. The successful and sustained development of the north, however, will depend on the quality and performance of appropriate governance (decision-making) and policy structures to: (i) overcome these unique challenges; and (ii) capitalise on, and invest in, the emerging opportunities. Governance in northern Australia, however, is typified by the separation of place and power, poor east-west alignment across the north, and continued tensions between development, conservation and the diverse interests of traditional owners. A strong and collaborative governance framework is a clear conduit for bringing together these interests, whilst delivering on the development mandate, reducing Indigenous disadvantage and harmonizing historically separate governance frameworks. Consistent with the findings of the Developing Northern Australia Green Paper (PM&C 2014), we consider the government and policy imperatives most critical to the development of the north are: • A clearer, inclusive and on-going national policy narrative that recognizes developing Northern Australia is in the national economic interest; • A clear structure and cohesive framework for the over-arching governance of northern Australia; • A clear national, State and Territory policy focus on the most strategic priorities for development; • Building a much stronger, more integrated and accessible knowledge base that will aid the de-risking of potential capital investment through informed decision making; • Clear processes for linking these priorities to, and alignment of, annual Commonwealth and State/NT budget cycles, Future Fund investment considerations, and wherever possible, seeking to establish the appropriate public private partnerships (PPPs) that are needed to secure the investment required; • A stronger framework for strategic land use planning across Northern Australia and continuous improvements in major project assessment and approval processes; • A determined attempt to continue to enhance the fair resolution of significant issues concerning land tenure security across the north; and • Stronger devolved capability (including appropriate rationalization) and more defined roles and responsibilities among northern Australian Councils, regional bodies, Indigenous institutions and others involved in critical decision-making. The north’s existing governance arrangements and policy processes, however, do not accommodate the full scope of these imperatives. Enhanced governance mechanisms and policy approaches that meet multi-jurisdictional objectives are instead necessary. Such mechanisms would form the logical foundation for the development of the many strategies required to implement the six major reform themes already identified within the Green Paper on Developing Northern Australia (PM&C 2014). Developing the north needs a shared and committed mandate right across Australia. Developing the north is in the National economic interest not just in the parochial interest of those of us who live in Northern Australia. The opportunities in resources, agriculture, tourism, access to markets etc. are well understood – the challenges in seizing these opportunities in the national interest have lacked cohesive and focused partnerships and planning between all levels of Government and the private sector. The current bi-partisan mandate to develop Northern Australia is an opportunity that should be seized upon to put in place the long term strategic governance, policy and financial architecture that will allow our nation to realize the potential of Northern Australia in the nations interest.

Item ID: 35506
Item Type: Report (Report)
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A draft report and recommendations compiled by the Policy, Finance and Governance Working Group for discussion at the ADC forum – Northern Development Summit, Townsville, June 2014

Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2016 22:52
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 30%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1606 Political Science > 160601 Australian Government and Politics @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960705 Rural Land Policy @ 30%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9402 Government and Politics > 940299 Government and Politics not elsewhere classified @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960704 Land Stewardship @ 20%
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