Institute of Public Affairs Submission To The Inquiry into Northern Australia Workforce Development

Written by:
31 May 2024
Institute of Public Affairs Submission To The Inquiry into Northern Australia Workforce Development - Featured image

Dear Committee Secretary

Adopt a special economic zone for Northern Australia to address worker shortages and unleash prosperity and opportunity.

The purpose of this letter is to share research and analysis conducted by the Institute of Public Affairs (“the IPA”) with the Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia (“the committee”), as it conducts its inquiry into Northern Australia’s Workforce Development.

Northern Australia—the region encompassing northern Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and northern Queensland—is key in fuelling and sustaining the nation’s economic prosperity through its strong resource and agricultural industries. Despite this, Northern Australia remains underdeveloped, private investment is plummeting due to high resource taxes, and young people are leaving the region in higher numbers.

The issues paper and first report released by the committee both raise many issues that Northern Australia is facing, such as worker shortages, overregulation, and emigration of working age people. The Northern Australia region requires policy and tax settings that are specially adapted to the region so that its economic potential can be unlocked. This can be addressed by establishing a Special Economic Zone (“SEZ”) encompassing Northern Australia.

Embracing an SEZ in Northern Australia will enable policy settings that address worker shortages, reduce tax and red tape burdens on Northern Australia industries, and encourage Australians to stay and invest in Northern Australia.

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