The Northern Australia Ministerial Forum has met in Cairns to discuss initiatives to support communities in the north, including improvements to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and working with defence industry to maximise investment in the regions.
The Federal Minister for Northern Australia, Madeleine King, chaired the forum and was joined by the Glenn Butcher MP, Don Punch MLA and Nicole Manison MLA.
The meeting was the third time the forum has convened since its re-establishment in Darwin in October last year, following the pandemic.
Identifying opportunities to work with defence industry to ensure maximum community benefits was a key focus of the forum.
The forum also discussed the additional $2 billion committed to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility as part of this year's Federal Budget, taking the total financing available to $7 billion.
The forum acknowledged the $491 million in loans the Northern Australia Infrastructure facility approved in 2022-23 and the 1000 new jobs supported through the facility in the north.
Ms King said the forum provided a much needed platform to discuss the issues important to the North, and to ensure communities get the support they need.
"When Northern Australia is prosperous, the nation is prosperous," she said.
"We are working with the Australian Defence Force to maximise opportunities for communities in the north through the Australian Government's $3.8 billion investment over four years in Australia's northern bases as part of the Defence Strategic Review."
According to Minister King, "There is no region more strategically significant to our national security than Northern Australia."
Queensland's Minister for Regional Development, Glenn Butcher, has complete faith in the fiscal capabilities of the northern regions.
"They really are an economic powerhouse for this state," he said.
"Queensland has just celebrated its first manufacturing month, which highlighted many of Queensland's leading manufacturers, including here in Cairns. The sector is strong, it is growing and creating more jobs for locals which is important for servicing the defence industry," he said.
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