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North Aust transformation under way: govt

AAP logoAAP 11/10/2016

The federal government says its plan to transform northern Australia is well under way, insisting it will deliver returns for all Australians.

Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan on Tuesday provided the first progress report on how the government is implementing the northern Australia white paper it unveiled last year.

The white paper announced more than $6 billion worth of investment in roads and major infrastructure for the north and the government had since announced funding for projects worth more than $350 million, he said.

Senator Canavan said 21 policy initiatives were complete with progress being made on others.

"Our government believes the north's proximity to world economic growth has created an unprecedented opportunity to invest in the north and by doing so, make returns for all Australians," he told parliament.

"We are taking action and we are on track."

Labor frontbencher Claire Moore urged the government to invest in jobs and tourism in northern Australia.

"Tourism is one of the biggest employers in northern Australia but a lack of high quality facilities and tourism infrastructure limit our ability to increase our share of the growing Asian tourism market."

She said backpacker visitor numbers had seriously declined since the government announced its "flawed" review into the backpacker tax, insisting lodgements for working holiday visa applications had fallen 10 per cent under the coalition.

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