Developing the North

Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

The Federal Government White Paper on Developing the North refers to areas of interest to the tourism industry in the Northern Territory including:

  • Coastal shipping reforms to remove cruise cabotage requirements for ships under 5000 gross tonnes to travel via an international port when crossing a state border; 
  • $13.6 million to extend the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Program to businesses in the north by lowering the threshold for eligibility to an annual turnover of $750,000;
  • Online lodgement of tourism visas for Chinese visitors and introduction of bilingual materials – part of a continual process to improve Australia’s competitive position in attracting the Chinese market; 
  • Ongoing support for the NT Designation Area Migration Agreement; and
  • Proposed changes to the Seasonal Workers Program.

Proposed changes to Working Holiday Visa

The local tourism industry is also set to benefit from proposed changes to the working holiday maker (WHM) visa program, which have been under active consideration by the Commonwealth for the past three years.  

Industry, with the unanimous support of state and territory tourism ministers, has been advocating for changes to the WHM program for quite some time.  The Department of Business and industry groups such as the Tourism Transport Forum, and the Australian Hoteliers Association have worked with Tourism NT in calling for these changes to the WHM arrangements. The proposed changes include:

  • Changes to the Working Holiday and Work and Holiday visa holders program, allowing the ability to work up to twelve months with one employer if they work in a high demand sector (including tourism and hospitality) in the north – up from six months at present.
  • Addition of tourism in the north as an eligible sector to apply for a second year WHM visa - previously eligible industries included agriculture and primary production, mining and construction, but excluded tourism.

While further details on each of the programs are still to be released, the commitment to industry through these areas have been identified of potential interest to our local tourism industry.

For more information, download the Federal Government’s white paper.



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