Agriculture and primary industries represent an exciting growth opportunity for the Territory economy. If elected, the CLP will work in partnership with the sector to leverage our traditional strengths, encourage private investment and boost production and profitability.
The total value of agricultural output in the Northern Territory is approximately $700 million per year and the industry employs about 2,400 people. However, growth in the sector has stagnated over the past four years. It is time to think outside the box, pursue new ideas and inspire a new generation of Territorians to fully utilise the bountiful natural resources in the Territory.
The live cattle industry is a primary economic driver, with over 550,000 head of cattle exported interstate and overseas each year. With access to new markets, improved infrastructure and utilisation of emerging technology the industry could grow even larger.
Mangos, melons, vegetables and other horticulture products contribute over a $250 million to the economy. Private investment in new products and innovative processes and cutting-edge technology, including the exciting new cotton industry, represent an exciting opportunity to open new product markets.
Similarly, forestry is the second largest productive land use in the Territory and represents a significant and continually developing industry for the Territory.
In order to foster growth, efficiency and increased employment in agriculture and primary industries in the Territory, a CLP Government will:
- Facilitate the construction of a commercial cotton gin in Katherine to support the development of a well-regulated, water-efficient dryland cotton farming, processing and manufacturing industry in the Territory;
- Support the development and delivery of Douglas Daly Stage 2, which incorporates approximately 60,000 hectares of arable or semi-arable land in the east central portion of the Daly Basin, utilising zero-tillage and ley farming technologies, along with irrigation efficiency to conserve water usage;
- Support the release of Keep Plains Agriculture Development, Wildman and Larrimah Agricultural Precincts;
- Provide $250,000 to NT Farmers to develop a business case for the agricultural development of Gunn Point for cropping of dragon fruit, mangoes, citrus, avocadoes, bananas and other potential commercial products;
- Support the creation of a Forestry Hub for the Northern Territory and contribute $100,000 in funding to promote industry development and R&D activities;
- Support the live cattle industry by providing $250,000 in funding for a marketing study to expand existing markets and explore new markets for Territory exports;
- Investigate solutions to address stock theft and increase enforcement actions in consultation with the Police, the Northern Territory Police Association and the Livestock Biosecurity branch of the Department of Primary Industries and Resources; and
- Support and expand initiatives to promote community agriculture programs in remote areas, including Central Australia, to create capacity for employment and the provision of local produce to market.