Increasingly, Australia’s agriculturalists are looking to the nation’s north to escape the decline in southern Australia’s water and soil resources. Booming mineral and gas development is also helping to drive the nation’s economic success. At the same time, the south’s conservation sector would like to see much of the north preserved as iconic wilderness. Both conservation and resource development interests alike are often at odds with the interests of the north’s traditional owners, many of whom remain trapped in welfare dependency and poverty. Indeed, to the ire of north Australians, the past five decades of north Australian history have indeed been characterized by these national-scale conflicts being played out in regional and local communities. This book explores these conflicts as well as the many emerging opportunities facing the development of the north, suggesting that a strong cultural divide between northern and southern Australia exists; one that needs to be reconciled if the nation as a whole is to benefit from northern development. The author first explores where these historical conflicts could take us without a clear forward agenda. A story-based personal narrative from his long and diverse experience in the north gives life to these themes. Finally, the book then draws on these stories to help shape a cohesive agenda for the north’s future.
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