Northern Australia is a critical element in the geography of a national population policy and plays an important role in Australia's relations with Asia. Northern Australia is the continent's frontier and one of the world's major exporter of resources to Asia but largely uninhabited. Australia's north has been a major zone of cultural interaction with Asia for a long period of time. More than 60,000 years ago, humanoids migrated to northern Australia from places in Southeast Asia. In more recent times, northern Australia's population growth has been very slow because of factors imposed by the continent's political geography. Australia should plan to build a number of large coastal cities in northern Australia. Large urban centers would end the isolation of the north from the rest of the country and provide population and economic growth cores away from the large southern cities. Government in Australia, however, is shifting away from its traditional role as a public provider and investor.