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THE NEWS WRAP: Abbott to unveil plan for northern Australia

Friday, 21 June 2013 | By Andrew Sadauskas

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is set to unveil a 20-year plan to develop northern Australia, using infrastructure projects and tax incentives to promote key industries including agriculture and tourism, in a speech to be delivered today.


“The role of government will be to provide the best regulatory and economic environment for businesses to realise this vision; not to direct or be the principal financier of development,” Abbott will say, according to The Australian.


“The development of northern Australia is too important for our nation to leave to a haphazard, ad hoc policy process that could be captured by political imperatives or the interests of any particular stakeholder group


“Our approach to developing northern Australia should be guided by national interests.”


HOSTPLUS looking to new infrastructure investments


Superannuation fund HOSTPLUS is creating a dedicated infrastructure assessment team, following the fund’s decision to invest $5 billion in New South Wales ports.


“We are building an infrastructure team. That means that will be able to assess more than one deal at the same time, which we haven't been able to do in the past,” chief investment officer Sam Sicilia says.


Sicilia also says privatising assets to superannuation funds is an effective way for governments to free up new capital for future major projects.


“We've just paid $5 billion, for example, for the NSW ports. What do they do with the $5 billion? Well, build more infrastructure assets: schools, rail, terminals, another airport in NSW, whenever they're going to do it,” Sicilia says.


“And so they sell the asset to us, we give them money, they build more assets, they then sell those to the super funds at the time who give them money to build more assets. And that's how you build a nation, it's quite interesting.”


Online retail boosts Goodman Group


Goodman Group, a company controlling $21 billion in logistics sheds, says online retailers now drive 30% of the demand for warehouse space.


“[Online retailers] are all going through supply-chain regeneration programs globally, so e-tailing is helping us greatly around the world,” chief executive Greg Goodman says.


“Australia has actually surprised us how strong that has been. China has been consistent where many have been concerned about the drop off in China; we're not seeing that.”




The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 2.34% to 14758.32. The Aussie dollar is at US92.06 cents.