The aim of this work is to understand what incentives exist to encourage integration in land and water management across northern Australia. Integration is seen as important in improving planning and management of resources in the context of climate change and development pressure. The north Australian region is made up of three jurisdictions, the two states of Queensland and Western Australia, and the Northern Territory. It is a sparsely populated region, with over a quarter of the Australian estate and only 2% of the nation’s population. However, the region makes a significant contribution to national exports and is recognized for its ecological values, and its prominent Indigenous population who have customary rights to land and water. The region produces over half the nation’s annual runoff during the wet season.Increasingly there is a focus on northern Australia as the next frontier for irrigation development. A report by the North Australian Land and Water Taskforce in 2009 suggested irrigation could expand by up to 200% in the region, though in a form that is distinct from southern Australia given soil, hydrological and biophysical characteristics of the region. Population is increasing and climate change projections point to increased temperatures and evapotranspiration, as well as more intense rainfall and cyclonic events, and in coastal areas storm surges and erosion, while in inland areas there is predicted greater incidence of drought and bushfire (CSIRO, BOM and BRS 2010a, b). The linear and non linear forces that may shape northern Australia’s landscape highlight the need for integrated land and water management as a tool for adaptation. Integration can improve the coordination of government adaptation programs, as well as efforts between government and non government actors (vertical integration), and encourage coordination between sectors (horizontal integration).