Abbott announces 15-year plan for northern Australia, Industry Collaboration fund opens, Sharemarket tumbles: Midday roundup

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will today announce a 15-year plan to dramatically increase the population of northern Australia by imposing special tax brackets for individuals and companies.

The Opposition Leader has branded towns Darwin, Cairns, Townsville and Karratha as the “new frontier”.

He plans to make the top end Australia’s next food bowl by doubling agricultural output. He also wants to build energy exports worth $150 billion in the area and attract two million international tourists a year.

Abbott said a white paper will be published during his first year in office if he is elected.

Industry Collaboration Fund opens in July

Round one of the government’s Industry Collaboration Fund, worth $130 million, opens on July 1.

Businesses and research organisations within Industry Innovation Precincts, as defined by the government, will be able to apply for grants from the ongoing fund ranging from $100,000 to $10 million with an annual investment of up to $50 million a year by 2016-17.

“Projects supported under the Industry Collaboration Fund program will have potential to generate significant benefits, innovative practices and develop world-class commercial activity,” the Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet, said in a statement.

The first two Industry Innovation Precincts, in the manufacturing and food sectors, commence in July.
Sharemarkets tumble and dollar hits 33-month low

World markets tumbled last night following announcements from the US Federal Reserve it will wind down its stimulus package, but the S&P/ASX 200 Benchmark is slowly climbing back.

At the official market opening the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index slumped 1.28% to 4,697.7 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index declined 1.29% to 4,682.6 points.

This morning the Australian dollar was trading at US91.98 cents, down from 92.29 cents on Thursday, after hitting a 33-month low earlier in the morning.


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