Australia

Northern Australia policy under microscope

The federal government's plan for Northern Australia will be put under the microscope, with a new Senate inquiry to review the coalition's agenda for the area.

The effectiveness of the federal government's agenda for Northern Australia is set to be scrutinised by a new Senate inquiry.

Labor's spokesman for Northern Australia Murray Watt says people in Darwin, Townsville, Rockhampton, Mackay and Cairns say the government's plan is vital but has failed to meet expectations.

"Four years after its release, now is the right time to consider whether the government's Northern Australia agenda has remained on track, is achieving its objectives and whether there are improvements to be made," Senator Watt said.

"This new inquiry will help to identify what funding pathways are working well, how they can be improved and whether current programs can be refined to better develop the north."

In 2015 the Abbott government released a white paper for developing the region, which laid out a 20-year plan to grow Australia's north.

The committee will be bipartisan, with representatives from Labor, the coalition, One Nation and the Greens.

The inquiry is now accepting submissions and is due to report on the last sitting day of 2020.

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