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Researchers shed light on North Australian development

By Katie Weiss

Professor Ruth Wallace says conference speakers have addressed key areas of interest in developing Northern Australia Professor Ruth Wallace says conference speakers have addressed key areas of interest in developing Northern Australia

Leading researchers have discussed the future of development in Northern Australia at a recent public conference in Darwin.

Speakers at the event highlighted factors to consider when planning for development in the North, including employment, migration, tourism, town planning and sustainability.

The “Northern Perspective: Northern Australian Development Conference” was organised by the Northern Research Futures Collaborative Research Network (CRN), of which Charles Darwin University is a collaborator.

CRN project manager and Northern Institute director at CDU, Professor Ruth Wallace said the event offered an opportunity for the wider community to understand key future development issues.

“This is the first time we have held an event like this,” Professor Wallace said.

“The conference has allowed experts in the field to present to the general public what the future might hold and how development issues might affect them.”

Professor Wallace said the conference also aimed to build alliances between government, non-government and industry stakeholders.

“The CRN has brought new research talent to the NT and has used research to identify and tackle key potential areas of interest with our development.”

Conference speakers also addressed proposals in the Federal Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia, which will be produced in 2015.

“The NT is at the centre of the White Paper because it is Australia’s gateway to the Asian region,” Professor Wallace said.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks made the keynote introduction.

CDU conference speakers included Professor Wallace, Professor Rolf Gerritsen, Professor Linda Rosenman, Ms Alicia Boyle, Dr Kate Golebiowska, Professor Allan Dale, Dr Elspeth Oppermann, Dr Chris O'Brien, Dr Tom Brewer, Professor Andrew Campbell and Professor Lawrence Cram.

Funded by the Federal Government’s Department of Education, CRN is a joint collaboration between CDU, Australian National University, James Cook University, and the Australian Institute of Marine Science.