About the CRCNA

Our vision

To create a prosperous, sustainable, vibrant and healthy Northern Australia.

Our purpose

To deliver industry-led research and development collaborations which de-risk Northern Australian development and attract quality investment ; improving the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of the North's economy and the wellbeing of its communities.

About the CRCNA

The Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) is investing $75m of Commonwealth funds over ten years to support industry-led research collaborations.  The funding will develop new technologies, products and services which address industry issues in Northern Australia within three initial focus areas:

Agriculture, food, and aquaculture - research which seeks to:

  • De-risk investment in new, emerging, and established industries by identifying barriers and providing solutions.
  • Support the development and growth of established industries by identifying value-add opportunities, new markets, improving supply chains, enhancing productivity, developing workforce skills, capacity, and capabilities, and improving decision-making processes and policy frameworks to enable solutions to be implemented.
  • Advance new industries through developing and testing new production and agronomy systems, crop varieties, animal species, and animal breeding techniques, and building research and workforce capabilities to support and maintain this work.

Northern Australia health service delivery - research which seeks to:

  • Improve health-seeking behaviours of northern Australians by improving access to information, health care professionals, diagnostic tools, and treatment options.
  • Improve the early detection of diseases through the development of new technologies which assist with the flow of information, support timely decision-making and treatment options, improve access and connectivity to existing technologies, enhance workforce skills and capability to use new or existing technologies.
  • Improve access to mental health treatment and diagnostic tools and technologies and enhance workforce skills and capabilities in delivering treatment and diagnosis.

Traditional Owner-led business development - research which seeks to:

  • De-risk investment in Traditional Owner-led enterprise which is supported by communities by identifying challenges and providing solutions.
  • Enhance the skills and capabilities of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander peoples and provide a pathway to building an industry-ready skilled workforce in the fields of agriculture, food, and health service delivery.

Area of operations

Northern Australia, as defined by the CRCNA, includes all of the Northern Territory, and those parts of Queensland and Western Australia above and directly below or intersecting the Tropic of Capricorn. It also includes Gladstone, Carnarvon and Exmouth, as well as the Local Government Areas of Meekatharra and Wiluna in Western Australia.

Research activities can be located outside of this area as long as the impact of the research falls within the Northern Australia jurisdiction as shown below.

resized correct NA map


Strategic intent

The CRCNA brings together industry, universities and other research bodies, regional development organisations, all northern jurisdictions and international partners in a collaborative industry-led R&D venture to assist businesses, governments and researchers identify opportunities for business and growth in the north to deliver an evidence-base of information to support and inform the developing northern Australia agenda for the benefit of all Australians and achieve the following :

1. De-risk the Northern Australian investment landscape – broker strategic discussions with relevant decision-makers and stakeholders and guide a coordinated approach that informs development planning and investment decision making across jurisdictions.

2. Deliver a coordinated approach to sector development – support strategic information and knowledge-building which helps frame and understand the key challenges and opportunities facing the north’s key agricultural sectors, health service sectors, infrastructure, and regional development.

3. Inform appropriate supply chain development and infrastructure planning across Northern Australia – deliver an evidence base which helps prioritise supply chain and infrastructure investment to provide timely access to high-value international and domestic markets.

4. Deliver research, development, and extension solutions with impact – leverage grass-roots level RD&E effort, capacity and knowledge of northern Australia to ensure solutions are implemented in a meaningful way and to the benefit of all Australians.

5. Build the strategic research capacity and develop the workforce skills of Northern Australians - in the fields of agriculture, aquaculture, food, health service delivery and Traditional Owner-led business development (in agriculture, aquaculture, food and health service/ models of delivery).

Strategic objectives

It is our aim that by achieving the above, our research collaborations will deliver high impact research which lowers investment barriers and enables significant capital to flow to support:

strategic objectives



The White Paper on Developing Northern Australia was released on 18 June 2015 and included $75 million over ten years to establish a Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA). The CRCNA is a core element of the Australian Government’s agenda for developing the north.

Mr John Wharton AM was appointed as Interim Chair of the CRCNA in November 2015 to consult with stakeholders and develop a proposal for consideration by Government to establish the CRC. Mr Wharton undertook extensive consultations with industry, research and government from December 2015 to 31 March 2016 and provided his proposal to the Australian Government on 5 August 2016.

On 20 February 2017, the Australian Government appointed the inaugural CRCNA Board and in April 2017 announced Townsville would host the CRCNA’s Head Office.

The CRCNA appointed Jed Matz as CEO early July 2017 and signed the Commonwealth Funding Agreement on 12 July 2017.

The CRCNA’s Head Office is located in Townsville with regional offices located in Broome, WA and Darwin, NT.