The 2018 Developing Northern Australia Conference is almost here again and will this year be held at Alice Springs Convention Centre over Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 June. 

Dr Robert Gale from GeoTrends Sustainability Consulting Pty Ltd joins us at the Conference to discuss ‘Infrastructure funding: Sustainability is a business issue’.


The Australian Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia (2015) and the subsequent Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) are devoid of a sustainability agenda. There is no mention of contemporary thinking on the green economy and green growth or the circular economy and closed loop design. If the NAIF is to offer recipients up to $5 billion over 5 years in concessional finance to encourage and complement private sector investment in infrastructure that benefits Northern Australia (e.g., developments in airports, marine ports, communications, energy, rail and water), there should be a program of due diligence around the materiality of climate change risks and other material sustainability issues. OCED evidence shows that environmentally stringent policies are not in opposition to productivity.

Rather, efforts to improve economic growth and still achieve environmental goals must go together, and be stepped up. This review identifies ways in which the Developing Northern Australia agenda and NAIF could approach sustainable infrastructure development by focusing more clearly on existing environmental conditions, creating shared value, corporate responsibility and accountability (e.g., GRI, ISO and IR report), the Natural Capital Protocol, and Director’s Duties, to name a few considerations.


Dr. Robert Gale is the founder of GeoTrends Sustainability Consulting Pty Ltd trading also as GeoTrends Economics and Sustainability. His consultant practices are GRI training, green economy/circular economy consultancy and climate change risk. He is also an instructor of a sustainability strategy course in the UNSW School of Business MBA program.

For more information on the 2018 Developing Northern Australia Conference and to secure your spot in Alice Springs this June please visit the conference website.