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The challenge of building Australia’s gateway to the Indo-Pacific

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The policy measures in the white paper are designed, in part, to develop the north into the country’s next trade and investment gateway, and particularly into the Indo-Pacific region (which stretches from South Asia to East Asia and the Pacific).

Agricultural products, tourism, energy and resources are all earmarked as key sectors that will underpin the economic development of the north. Demand from China, Indonesia and other emerging markets in the region will be critical to the growth of those sectors.

The north’s proximity to key markets like China and Indonesia makes it a natural choice as a trade ‘gateway’ and yet, while its significant potential has long been recognised, the vision of Northern Australia as an economic hub has never been fully realised.

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