Ongoing Jobs and Development through the NT’s largest agricultural land releases one step closer

Nicole Manison

Minister for Agribusiness and Aquaculture

Eva Lawler

Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics

Media Release

Ongoing Jobs and Development through the NT’s largest agricultural land releases one step closer

23 June 2021

Diversifying the Northern Territory economy is one way the Territory Labor Government is creating long term local jobs.

Agricultural developments will bring significant ongoing development opportunities and sustainable economic benefits to the Northern Territory – along with 150 local jobs.

In October 2020, the NT Land Corporation (NTLC) announced an Expression of Interest was open for development of the Keep Plains Agricultural Development, Wildman Agricultural Precinct and Larrimah Agricultural Precinct.

The NT Land Corporation has now finalised its assessment of submissions received.

These three large scale agricultural land developments will see northern Australia capitalise on the increasing demand for premium quality Australian produce, ensure sustainable continuity of food supply for domestic and export markets and enhance the profitability and economic resilience of the region.

Keep Plains Agricultural Development (67,500ha):

  • 67,500 hectares available on the NT/WA border, adjoining WA’s iconic Ord River Irrigation Scheme, and suitable for a wide variety of high quality broadacre crops from melons to cotton to sorghum and chia.
  • Recently, the Territory Government Keep River Road upgrade with the Federal Government was finalised, creating further access and development opportunities in the region.
  • NT Land Corporation will now be seeking detailed proposals from three shortlisted parties for the Keep Plains Development before a preferred proponent is selected and the final stage of negotiations are entered into, by the end of the year.

Wildman Agricultural Precinct (26,000ha):

  • 26,000 hectares of land along the Stuart Highway and Point Stuart road which could be used for high yield crops such as bananas, mangoes and leafy vegetables as well as cattle and buffalo production.
  • Located 135 kms east of Darwin, north of the Arnhem Highway along the Point Stuart Road. The Precinct comprises four areas of land which are available to one experienced entity with a proven track record.
  • NTLC has selected a suitable applicant to enter into direct negotiations, with the intention of being ready for a proponent to get on-ground in 2022.

Larrimah Agricultural Development (5,712ha):

  • 5,712 hectares of land on offer in the Big River region with direct access to logistics routes along the Stuart Highway the sites are suitable for a wide range of dryland and irrigated crops including mangoes, citrus and melons, as well as intensified beef production.
  • No suitable applicant was shortlisted through the formal EOI process. NTLC will now look to engage with other interested parties for Larrimah through direct negotiation.
  • This land is located in the transitional zone between the Top End and Arid zones. Further work is being undertaken to determine water availabilities to support development opportunities.

Spread out across the Territory, the flow on from these three agricultural land releases is expected to create over 150 new jobs and regional training opportunities for Territorians and will grow the Territory’s capacity to lead with new agricultural innovation, technology, infrastructure and environmental stewardship.

Agriculture is Australia’s fastest growing sector. The Territory has a diverse and well-established agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors, with plant-based industries alone worth over $350 million and over 135,000 tonnes of produce grown annually.

Quotes from the Minister for Agribusiness and Aquaculture, Nicole Manison:

“The Territory’s agricultural sector has a significant role to play in the recovery of our economy. The potential for growth in food and fibre production in the Territory will attract private investment, create long-term, sustainable employment and diversify the Territory’s suite of exports.

“We are creating ongoing jobs for Territorians – these three agricultural land releases is expected to create over 150 new jobs, training opportunities for Territorians and will grow the Territory’s capacity to lead the nation with new agricultural innovation, technology and infrastructure.

“The Northern Territory is already recognised as a producer and supplier of high-quality mangoes, melons and Asian vegetables to domestic and international markets.”

Quotes from the Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, Eva Lawler:

“The NT Government is supporting these land releases through investment in our roads infrastructure in order to access these highly prospective sites.

“The Keep River Plains Road upgrades valued at over $58 million, jointly funded by the Australian and Northern Territory Governments, provides significant opportunities for the Keep Plains Agricultural Development. In addition, the Territory Government will shortly release a construction tender for the Point Stuart Road, which will provide even more accessibility to the Wildman Agricultural Precinct.”

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