The government’s strategy for managing Australia’s turbulent ­security environment and building economic resilience is taking shape. Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan’s declaration that Canberra will overhaul its northern development agenda to boost regional ties is the latest in a series of incremental changes designed to better integrate national security and development policy.

In the absence of a defining speech or policy document, much of the strategy must be surmised. It appears to have three main elements: diversifying China risk without jeopardising the core trade relationship; a focus on non-China regional opportunities to include strengthening neglected ties with Southeast Asia, building a genuine partnership with India and deepening the still embryonic Pacific “step-up” policy; and linking these regional initiatives with a renewed emphasis on improving Northern Australia’s capacity to support national security and ­development goals.

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