Northern Australia Alliance

Advance Cairns is part of the Northern Australia Alliance, which was launched by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in June 2015.

The Northern Australian Alliance (NAA) is an agreement between Advance Cairns, Capricorn Enterprise, Greater Whitsunday Alliance (GW3), Karratha & Districts Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Northern Territory Chamber of Commerce, Townsville Enterprise and West Kimberley Alliance.

The NAA allows the key advocacy bodies from Queensland, Northern Territory, and Western Australia to unite and work collaboratively, acting as a catalyst to shape and change communities across northern Australia in a strategic, consultative way.

Northern Australia is broadly defined as the parts of Australia north of the Tropic of Capricorn. The area covers approximately three million square kilometres with a growing population of around one million people.

Northern Australia Alliance Logo

Why the NAA is needed

The principal purpose of the NAA is to provide northern Australia with a clear regional development framework that is consistent with the unique identity of the region, ensuring that development is driven by an apolitical agenda and can be implemented over successive governments.

Members of the NAA share a common platform on issues that are universal and unique to the northern Australian region, namely:


  • northern Australia is characterised by a geographically dispersed population;
  • the breadth and depth of existing industry is limited, particularly outside of the major urban centres;
  • a high proportion of the population are Indigenous and continue to practice traditional law and culture while engaging in the mainstream economy;
  • northern Australia has extraordinary land and marine environmental values which underpin Indigenous culture; are highly valued by the local, national, and international community; and are the basis for important economic opportunity;
  • in many cases, investment and economic development activities in northern Australia require consideration of native title;
  • much of northern Australia can be characterised as a development frontier, however opportunity is challenged by the tyranny of distance;
  • much of northern Australia is closer in proximity to Asia-Pacific export markets than to the major Australian domestic markets.

The dispersed population, limited existing infrastructure, and limited breadth in the local skills base lead to very high development costs, which elevate the importance of coordinated government investment to underpin catalytic private ventures.

Through working with the NAA, the government can take a socially driven approach to economic analysis and project feasibility, rather than relying on traditional cost benefit models that preference large urban populations.