The "opening-up" of northern Australia is pie in the sky by both leading political parties. Unless billions of dollars are put into the north development will not take place. The Ord River Irrigation Scheme is an example. However, the scheme is not a real success. Salinity is rising and destroying productive land.
Are the political parties planning to build dams? No, not in new northern regions! Neither is putting forward substantial money for investment. Kevin Rudd's promise to extend the Ord River Dam will only drag up more salt. Just telling people to move north is a silly idea. Like the draw to Western Australia there must be financial incentives. The mining boom there means better paid jobs.
Those suggesting development of northern Australia don't even study the climatic and geographic realities. Tropical soil is very thin. It barely covers the surface. To grow any plant in large quantities thick fertile soil is needed. Tropical soil may be fertile but there isn't enough of it.
Making the Northern Territory a special economic zone with reduced taxes will not bring agriculture to the region. And there is no skilled workforce for factory work. Most countries are now finding special economic zones do not benefit them. The zones don't put money into a nation's financial "kitty". Indeed, they are a drain on national revenue. Companies move there just to dodge paying tax - no extra jobs.