A new research collaboration between the Northern Territory Government and the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) will explore the key policy and regulatory challenges impacting new agricultural development across the Territory.

The 6-month project will draw on the experiences and feedback from key stakeholders across the Top End, identifying any barriers to agricultural development and examine innovative NT-specific solutions which may include irrigated and dryland cropping systems, horticulture, the intensification of livestock production and improving agricultural supply chains.

CRCNA CEO Jed Matz said the project is focused on gaining a clearer understanding of where the development assessment goalposts are and what is needed to help deliver sustainable economic, environmental and social outcomes for the NT.

NAJA Business Consulting Services Principal, Paul Rosair has been engaged to deliver the research which kicked off earlier this month with a round of initial workshops and face-to-face meetings in Darwin.

Stakeholders include representatives from business, industry organisations and associations, individual producers and landowners, Indigenous organisations and government and non-government groups and organisations.

“My team will use feedback from these sessions to examine how core development components such as land, water and environmental assessment processes, land tenure changes, availability of skilled workers, infrastructure, supply chain requirements and Aboriginal engagement affect new agricultural developments.

“We will then use this information to recommend new approaches to de-risking agricultural investments across the NT and outline the policy, research and budgetary support needed to secure improved pathways and to continue to encourage investment in northern Australian agriculture,” he said.

The project team will draw on a series of case studies to explore key challenges and will use these to inform a final round of meetings and workshops, scheduled for February and March 2020.

The NT Government’s Director of Agribusiness, Linda Lee, said the project wouldn’t deliver a silver bullet but it will set the scene for further investigation into how best to de-risk investment across the north.

“This project will assist the NT’s Investment Territory and all of our partner agencies to work with industry to explore the issues at hand – across the Territory, but also more broadly across the whole of northern Australia.

“This is the best way of ensuring investment planning and prioritisation is undertaken in a  coordinated and integrated way and give confidence to business and industries wanting to grow northern agriculture,” she said.

The final report is due to be delivered to the CRCNA mid-2020.

Media enquiries

Carla Keith, CRCNA Communications Manager 0499 330 051

Paul Rosair , NAJA Business Consulting Services 0419 930 467