Some of the world’s most significant investors will converge on Darwin from Sunday to explore opportunities for the development of northern Australia.

Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb, in conjunction with the governments of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, will host 350 business leaders and investors, for the three-day Northern Australia Investment Forum. Investors from more than 20 countries will be in attendance.

Mr Robb said the forum comes on the back of the government’s landmark Northern Australia White Paper and was aimed at attracting crucial new investment into northern Australia.

“The north’s time has come. It is a region dripping with potential and we are determined to do what we can to attract critical new investment into the projects and infrastructure that will help drive future growth, job-creation and prosperity,” Mr Robb said.

“On the investment agenda will be agribusiness and food, tourism infrastructure, resources and energy, major infrastructure, tropical medicine, and innovation and education. These reflect key areas of strength across northern Australia and potential investors will be exposed to investment-ready opportunities across each of these.”

Northern Australia comprises only five per cent of Australia’s population yet 40 per cent of our land mass. It is endowed with 17 million hectares of arable soil and receives 60 per cent of the nation’s rainfall, yet we use and capture less than two per cent of it.

It accounts for 90 per cent of our nation’s gas reserves, as well as truly world-class tourist attractions. The north is also home to three top universities which have a strong track record in driving innovation.

Key companies to be represented at the forum include Grupo JBS, the world’s largest beef producer; Landbridge, which recently concluded a $500m deal for the Port of Darwin lease; Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Malaysia’s primary sovereign wealth fund; MSF Sugar Limited; Korea Development Bank; Omega Diagnostics; and China Merchants Group.

Mr Robb said northern Australia is located at the intersection of two great areas of economic and population growth, Asia and the tropics and this presented major opportunities to build upon existing capacity and expertise.

“Australia has a rare place as one of the few developed countries in the Tropical Zone, where half the world’s population will reside by 2050. Increased funding for research into tropical diseases such as dengue fever and malaria will also be an important focus of the forum,” Mr Robb said.

“The economic burden of malaria alone reaches into the hundreds of millions of dollars each year and the human cost, of course, can be much greater,” he said.

The forum will include sessions across all key investment areas, networking opportunities and site visits to locations such as the Ord project in Kununurra W.A.

Speakers will include CEO of JBS Wesley Batista, Dr Yuning Fu – Chairman of China Resources, CEO of MMV (Medicines for Malaria) Dr David Reddy and NT Chief Minister Adam Giles among others.

The Minister for Resources and Energy and Northern Australia, Josh Frydenberg, will be an active participant.

The forum will take place over three days from Sunday 8 November to Tuesday 10 November at the Darwin Convention Centre.

It has been organised by Austrade and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in conjunction with the governments of the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia.

Media enquiries

  • Trade Minister's Office: (02) 6277 7420
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