Agriculture, biosecurity and disaster resilience the focus of Northern Australia Ministerial Forum

Opportunities to strengthen Northern Australia’s agriculture and biosecurity sectors, including identifying priorities for disaster resilience in the north were discussed at today’s Northern Australia Ministerial Forum in Kununurra.

Minister for Northern Australia Madeleine King said the forum – the first Northern Ministerial Australia forum to be held in Kununurra in almost six years - was also an opportunity to confirm the Australian Government’s commitment to a refresh of the Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia, produced in collaboration with ministers representing the north.

Chaired by Minister King, the forum was attended by Glenn Butcher, Queensland Minister for Regional Development, Heather Brayford, Director General of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development attending on behalf of the Western Australia Minister for Regional Development Don Punch and Brent Potter MLA, attending on behalf of Northern Territory Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Northern Australia Nicole Manison.

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt participated in discussions on the importance of the north to the Albanese Government’s approach to managing emerging biosecurity risks.

Minister King said agriculture in Northern Australia makes a substantial contribution to the Australian economy and the Albanese Government was committed to supporting farmers and producers in the north.

Minister King said the Commonwealth was continuing to work with the Western Australian Government on the recovery from damage caused by Ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie, concentrating efforts on infrastructure repairs, including the Fitzroy Bridge to get the region on the road to recovery.

The Minister said the Northern Australia White Paper refresh was part of the Australian Government’s commitment to addressing the challenges that exist in the north in promoting development and economic activity.

She said the refresh will be informed by engagement with stakeholders to understand priorities, challenges and opportunities which will feed into a new five-year action plan for the north.

“I am excited about this opportunity to reinject urgency into our agenda for sustainable economic development,” Minister King said.

“I am focused on the critical importance of social infrastructure and community-led development, while supporting industry to expand and create sustainable regional jobs.”

Quotes attributable to Queensland Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water Glenn Butcher:

“The open discussion at this unique Forum provides an opportunity to reaffirm commitments to address challenges as well as to confirm the refresh Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia.

“The refresh of the White Paper is an opportunity to align the Northern Australia Agenda with current government policies and priorities.

“The Palaszczuk Government is already delivering innovation and good, stable jobs for Northern Australia through the Queensland Energy & Jobs Plan.

“The work we conduct through these forums directly impact the liveability of communities and attract young people to regional and remote Australia.”

Quotes attributable Northern Territory Minister for Northern Australia and Trade Nicole Manison:

“Critical infrastructure is essential for connectivity to support the economic and social development of the north.”

“Northern Australia is the nation’s front line when it comes to defence and biosecurity, and it is imperative we ensure the region works together to tackle our unique challenges and build greater outcomes for the people who live and work here.”

For more information on the Government’s Northern Australia investments and initiatives, visit