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North of 26 degrees south and the security of Australia: Views from The Strategist Volume 3

By John Coyne and Teagan Westendorf

The Northern Australia Strategic Policy Centre’s latest report, North of 26° South and the Security of Australia Volume 3’, is an all-new series of articles by a range of authors exploring the continued importance of Northern Australia to national security and defence strategy.

This Volume’s contributions were written over a year in which increased strategic uncertainty and an unprecedented global pandemic have collectively generated an interest in revisiting old policy assumptions. Right from the start, it was clear that we need to think of the north as the middle of the region, rather than the edge of Australia, and reflect that critical role in Australia’s political, military and economic strategies moving forward.

The economic, social and geopolitical effects of Covid-19 have presented opportunities for a radical a rethinking of nation-building in the north, and collaboration between the public and private sectors to support it. The rise of Chinese influence in the region and globally has changed Australia’s role in the Indo-Pacific and the strategic significance of Australia’s defence capabilities and alliances to the broader international community.

The pandemic response and geopolitical tensions have highlighted supply-chain resilience as a key area of capability uplift for Australia, making the north significant both as the key trade hub with region and a source of natural resource exports.

The report builds on the previous Volumes of North of 26° South by broadening the breadth and depth of its contributions northern Australia strategic policy.

This report provides much needed contemporary analysis and the criticality of the North to Australia’s national security and defence.