Published 17 June 2015 on ABC News by James Glenday

The Prime Minister will this morning unveil his long-awaited vision for northern Australia, as he releases a wide-ranging white paper in Canberra that sets out ambitious policy ideas for the next 20 years.

New roads, studies of dam sites and changes to land-use laws are major parts of the Government’s development blueprint, which is designed to make the north an “economic powerhouse”.

There is a $600 million roads package, cash to upgrade airstrips and money to explore rail freight options, in addition to the $100 million beef roads fund and $5 billion concessional loans facility that were announced in the federal budget.

A $200 million water infrastructure fund will be set up and river systems across the north will be studied to see if they can support dams, or other storage options.

Land-use laws in the north have led to long delays and cost blowouts in construction and mining projects over the past decade, so the white paper includes support for native title bodies and new surveys to start simplifying land arrangements.

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