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NT has future beyond resources: Mills

Reported by Xavier La Canna
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
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Northern Territory Chief Minister Terry Mills says the resources sector is booming but his jurisdiction should also look to opportunities in other sectors.

Speaking at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) dinner in Darwin, Mr Mills spoke about the NT's future business options.

He said the NT punched above its weight, with average annual economic growth in the NT expected to be 4.4 per cent through to 2016/17.

"We have natural resources both on and offshore and yes, we are in close proximity to our nation's major markets," Mr Mills said.

But other opportunities existed too.

"We see that our opportunities include energy and resources, export, tourism and agri-businesses, defence and education facilities," Mr Mills said.

He said the NT should leverage its close proximity to Asia to encourage students from the region to study in Darwin.

"Regional partnerships in the field of higher education can enhance both skills at home and overseas," Mr Mills said.

He said China had 20 per cent of the world's population but less than 10 per cent of the world's arable land, and the NT should take advantage of that.

Around Tennant Creek there were immense amounts of land, good soil, sunlight and water.

Mr Mills later told AAP there were challenges facing the NT over the cost of housing.

"Great opportunity won't mean anything if no-one can afford to live here," Mr Mills said.

ANZ senior economist Justin Fabo also addressed the CEDA meeting and said things were going well in the NT.

"In the longer run I think the challenges, once you get over that hump of strong investment, will be to seek out other sources of growth," he told reporters.

"I am quite positive that being close to Asia means that opportunities will be there for the Territory.

But he said the NT would need to grasp the opportunities that came its way.

"I am quite conscious that politicians can say one thing and do the other," Mr Fabo said.

25/11/2014 03:10Sydney, Australia. 25 November,2014
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