New book paints range of futures for tropics 

l-r: The Hon. John Kerin with authors Prof Stephen Garnett, Dr Rolf Gerritsen, Dr John Woinarski and Prof Gordon Duff

A new publication examining the future of tropical Australia has been released by Charles Darwin University Press.

The publication identifies 10 major drivers that will shape the north and describes seven possible outcomes.

Future Options for North Australia, by Stephen Garnett, John Woinarski, Rolf Gerritsen and Gordon Duff, was launched by the Honourable John Kerin, Chair of the Board of Management of the Tropical Savannas Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) at the Savanna Futures Forum held at CDU’s Casuarina campus last week.

Mr Kerin was enthusiastic about the volume, noting the relevance of the topic of northern development and his expectation that this volume should be a valuable resource for policy makers.

The authors, all of whom have a close association with the Tropical Savannas CRC, assert they are not making predictions, but rather are presenting scenarios to make readers think about and realise that decisions made today will have a profound influence in the future.

They describe seven possible scenarios for the future of the north: chronic underdevelopment, degeneration, a northern rice bowl, an industrial powerhouse, environment first, an Indigenous community Utopia or dynamic urbanisation.

The publication suggests that, unlike the rest of the world where the future largely has been set by unplanned development and the irrevocable contingencies of history, northern Australia can be moulded by deliberate and considered choices.

Future Options for North Australia is available from Charles Darwin University Bookshop (