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Prosperity Points North

The Northern Territory economy is currently performing very well when compared with other parts of the nation.  For example, according to the recent CommSec “State of the States” Report (January 2015), we have now overtaken Western Australia to share the mantle of best performing economy with New South Wales.


“State of the States” lists the NT as being on top on five indicators, including the job market, but we are sixth on housing finance, seventh on population growth and third on retail trade.  Although we are the strongest in the nation for new home construction, our lagging population growth continues to be a constraint on projected demand for housing.


According to the Federal Government “Green Paper” on Developing Northern Australia, “…proximity to the Asian and tropical regions provides unparalleled economic opportunity for the nation.”  The Green Paper highlights Northern Australia’s position at the intersection of two great regions of global and population growth – the Asian region and the Tropical region (the latter being home to 40 percent of the world’s population).


The Paper suggests that “the rise of these regions, underpinned by a set of global macro-trends, will create significant opportunities for northern Australia to capitalise on its strengths and unlock major economic value.  This growth will ultimately create new jobs, greater income and better prospects for all Australians.”


The Federal Government White Paper, due to be released later this year, is expected to “outline concrete, achievable actions that will free business from red tape and foster investment to realise the vision for northern Australia.”


So our economy is undoubtedly performing well at present and there is strong potential for significant economic growth in the future.  This will mean increased demand for housing, but for Darwin to fully capitalise on the opportunities being created by major projects, the development industry needs to ensure the housing it delivers is both suitable and affordable for our growing workforce.  We also need to attract investment to Darwin to help build the new infrastructure we will need as we grow.


To stimulate discussion and action on these matters, the Urban Development Institute of Australia (NT) is bringing experts from around Australia, as well as from overseas, to a major Conference to be held at the Darwin Convention Centre on July 16th and 17th.  The Conference will explore likely growth and issues associated with the “big picture” economic drivers: oil and gas, mining, international tourism, defence, agribusiness and overseas education. 


We will also be identifying infrastructure needs and options for funding necessary infrastructure; our housing market and planning for future land release for housing; progress and issues associated with implementing the Darwin and Palmerston CBD Masterplans; the potential for growing our airline services to Asia; options for building our skilled workforce; and opportunities for attracting new investment from overseas.


Environmental sustainability has a prominent place in the Conference with a dedicated session, organised in partnership with Engineers Australia, to focus on identifying how we can achieve sustainable development in Australia’s tropical north.


Speakers at the Conference include Dr Ric Simes, Director of Deloitte Access Economics, who will deliver our keynote address; Professor Simon Maddocks, Vice Chancellor Charles Darwin University; Lorraine Corowa, Director Ord Development, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries; Stephen Mencshelyi, General Manager Strategic Defence Liaison; Francis Norman, President of Engineers Australia WA Division; Drew Wagner, Executive Director Minerals Council of Australia NT Division, and many other highly qualified and experienced experts in their respective fields.


Our program has been developed in partnership with the NT Government, our Platinum Sponsors for the Conference.  The Government’s Northern Australia Development Office (NADO), Department of Lands, Planning and the Environment, as well as the land Development Corporation, are providing extensive support to UDIA (NT)’s Conference planning team in the lead-up to this event.


The pre-Conference program on Wednesday July 15th will include a land and sea tour showcasing Darwin’s development scene and key infrastructure sites and an evening Welcome Reception to be held at the Award-Winning Spirit on The Avenue” development in Parap.


Our Conference audience is expected to include a wide cross-section of development industry professionals from the NT and elsewhere, business people from key sectors within the Asian region, Government (Federal, NT and local) planners, strategists and policy makers; and key industries which are currently operating in the NT and / or are expected to experience significant growth here (oil and gas, mining, agribusiness, defence, tourism, education)


For further information about the Conference you can visit the UDIA (NT) web site ( ), which will be regularly updated as the date for the Conference draws nearer.