Northern Australia Ministerial Forum: collaboration for action

Measures from last week’s Federal Budget designed to support the people of Northern Australia were discussed at the first meeting of the new Northern Australia Ministerial Forum held today in Darwin.

Key among the Budget measures was an additional $2 billion for the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, which will benefit local communities, support the creation of new industries and boost local employment opportunities.

The re-established Ministerial Forum, chaired by Minister for Northern Australia Madeleine King, brought together Queensland Minister for Regional Development Glenn Butcher, Western Australia Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan, and Northern Territory Minister for Northern Australia and Trade Nicole Manison.

It is the first collective meeting of portfolio Ministers representing northern jurisdictions since 2019

Ministers committed to working through the forum to drive economic growth – to benefit Australians now and into the future.

Developing a shared vision and goals for enduring prosperity right across the north was a key outcome of this week’s forum, with agreed priorities to diversify and strengthen the north’s economy including through:

  • Human capital: Engagement with First Nations people; justice reinvestment; housing availability; migration and mobility; and workforce skills and training development
  • Enabling infrastructure: digital connectivity; enabling roads, rail and ports; common user infrastructure; and water
  • Economic development and diversification: transformational projects; agriculture and biosecurity; and data to support decision making and investment. 

Last week’s Federal Budget has already introduced measures that will help drive these shared priorities for Northern Australia, by delivering targeted support for community liveability and amenity across the north, financing major industry and infrastructure development, upgrading roads and ensuring First Nations people can access the services and facilities they need.

The Government’s other nation-building investments in northern Australia include:

  • $1.5 billion towards common user marine infrastructure within the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct, providing a pathway to a decarbonised economy by helping emerging clean energy industries.
  • $440 million for Northern Territory Regional Logistics Hubs in Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs.
  • $565 million in the Pilbara to boost the region’s readiness for new green hydrogen markets and its transition to renewable energy.
  • $150 million for the Cairns Marine Precinct and $50 million for the Central Queensland University, Cairns campus.

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

Quotes attributable to federal Northern Australia Minister Madeleine King:

“Australia’s north has opportunities around every corner, and no two communities are the same – which makes genuine collaboration across all levels of government critical to delivering our ambitious growth agenda. 

“This first Northern Australia Ministerial Forum has enabled us to align national and state and territory priorities and ensure that our actions are coordinated and respond to real needs and opportunities on the ground.

“The shared priorities agreed on this morning will complement last week’s Federal Budget measures designed to drive economic prosperity and wellbeing for northern Australian communities.

“My state and territory counterparts and I are resolved to work with our respective local communities, businesses and First Nations people and to deliver on our shared vision for enduring prosperity for northern Australia.”

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

“The future of Australia is in the north and federal budget shows the Albanese government shares the vision for a prosperous Northern Territory. 

“For the first time the meeting for Ministers for Northern Australia was held in Darwin and shows the importance of our region both strategically and economically for the future growth of Australia.

“I look forward to continuing to work together with my state counterparts, and Minister King and the Albanese government to deliver a strong economy in Northern Australia and secure jobs for Territorians.” 

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

“It was great to formally meet the Ministers in Darwin to discuss the challenges and opportunities that face Northern Australia. 

“Shared priorities agreed by all Ministers now provides us with an aligned action plan so we can collaboratively move forward to progress the Northern Australian communities. 

“Looking forward to continue to progress the priorities and address the challenges and opportunities facing Northern Australia. 

“Queensland is setting a pathway with the Queensland Energy & Jobs Plan. The work we conduct through these forums assists in playing the role in the liveability of communities and attract young people to regional and remote Australia.”

Quotes attributable to Western Australia Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan:

“Developing a shared goal to diversify and strengthen the north’s economy and community resilience has been a key focus at the Northern Australia Ministerial Forum.

“Supporting emerging industries like hydrogen and critical minerals, is crucial for providing a strong and sustainable future for the north.

“We also need critical investment that will strengthen Aboriginal communities.

"I look forward to continuing to work with my forum colleagues to pursue opportunities that will enable businesses in northern WA to be competitive in a global market."