PwC Australia partner, Sean O’Meara

5 September 2019

A new Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) project will set the scene for exploring the most prospective new investors interested in tapping into northern Australia’s agricultural opportunities.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Hon. Senator Matt Canavan said the CRCNA had engaged professional services firm, PwC, to deliver the research, in a project co-designed by the CRCNA and the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade).

“PwC will bring together key investors and stakeholders in investment promotion, attraction, and facilitation to develop a comprehensive analysis of those with interest in investing in the northern agriculture sector.

“The team will look at the risks associated with new agricultural development in the north and the types of investors who are best suited to manage the risks and encourage economic growth and development.

“The project complements the work we are already doing to develop the north’s economic and social potential, such as funding research into the water resources, building water infrastructure, investing in better roads and supporting new industries through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility,” he said.

Over the next seven months, the project team will engage with a range of investment interests and stakeholders including representatives from State, Territory and Federal government agencies (including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade).

Trade and Investment Bureaus, Primary Industry departments, Traditional Owner-led business and economic groups as well as global investor networks identified by PwC, Austrade and State and Territory investment attraction agencies will also be engaged.

CRCNA Chair, Sheriden Morris said the research would put all the cards on the table and develop a clear pathway forward.

“At the end of this project, the CRCNA, Austrade, and key stakeholders will know the investor types who have the appetite and expertise to manage the risks and uncertainty of new agricultural development in the north.

“We want these investors to know northern Australia is open for business and they can invest here with confidence,” she said.

Austrade Senior Investment Specialist, Anne Maree Weston, said the project had come together following extensive feedback from international and domestic clients and investors.

“We know there is significant interest in unlocking new agricultural development across the north, but some prospective investors are wary about real -and perceived- challenges.

It is important to articulate and address those challenges and outline a clear pathway to success,” she said.

PwC Australia Partner, Sean O’Meara, said PwC would use its global network to identify potential investors who fit a profile of what is needed to activate northern Australia’s agricultural sector.

“We are excited to work with the CRCNA and Austrade on this nationally significant project,” he said.

The final report and recommendations are due to be completed by early 2020.

Media enquiries

Carla Keith, CRCNA Communications Manager                                  0499 330 051

Rachel Mulholland, PwC Senior Manager – Corporate Affairs         0467 654 011