The NT wants to lead discussions around plans for northern Australian development, and says too much of the focus has been on Queensland.
The Northern Territory wants more say in how the north of the country is developed.
Chief Minister Adam Giles feels the federal government is focusing too much on Queensland, and the NT wants a key stake in the debate.
Ms Giles says Darwin has a geographical advantage over the rest of the country but suffers from infrastructure that’s “150 years behind the rest of the nation”, so investments need to be made in roads, rails and ports.
But Mr Giles believes politics may be behind an apparent bias towards Queensland, suggesting Liberal MP Warren Entsch’s Queensland origins were diverting the debate.
“There are concerns (of) politics coming into this from higher levels, that there are competing interests,” Mr Giles said.
Mr Giles says he has agreed to work with Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the premiers of Western Australia and Queensland to come up with initiatives to boost the region.
He says apart from the territory’s proximity to Asia, the defence presence plays a big part in the nation’s security.
The NT is already pursuing emerging industries such as defence support, international education and tropical health, alongside mining and gas projects.
However, for the NT to grow, critical infrastructure needed to be developed, Mr Giles said.
That’s because the Top End struggled from a sparse population, high-cost utilities and service delivery, and transport difficulties, he said.
“We’re 150 years behind the rest of the nation in terms of infrastructure,” he said.
“If we want to grow the NT and get greater access, we need mobile phone towers, internet access, and road infrastructure that develops communities and connects people.”
The NT government says no approach to driving development should be discounted – including tax breaks, stimulating migration, and offering relocation incentives and special economic zones.
The territory government’s recommendations are contained in its submission to the Joint Select Committee Inquiry into the Development of Northern Australia.