Investment refocus to benefit Northern Australia

The Albanese Government is updating the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility’s (NAIF) investment mandate to better align national priorities to projects that deliver economic, social and community outcomes for northern communities.

Under the new investment mandate, tabled in Parliament this week, the NAIF must be satisfied when making investment decisions that potential projects align with one or more of Australian Government policy priorities including:

  • economic development in the north
  • alleviating social or economic disadvantage in Northern Australian communities, including the development of social infrastructure
  • achieving Australia’s net zero and energy transition goals
  • improving First Nations outcomes and contributing to Closing the Gap.

The changes will also formally align NAIF investments with the objectives of the Critical Minerals Strategy 2023-2030, following the Government’s $500 million commitment under the NAIF for critical minerals projects.

Growing the critical minerals sector will contribute to broader national and economic security, emissions reduction, green trade, investment and industry growth.

To date, NAIF has approved nearly $4 billion in loan investments across a range of sectors including critical minerals, energy, agriculture, student accommodation, health, aquaculture, universities, and airports.

This includes $655 million for critical minerals and rare-earth projects forecast to deliver $5.5 billion to the economy and 2,500 jobs.

In 2022-23 alone, NAIF approved $491 million in new loans, supporting over 1,000 new jobs in the north.

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Quotes attributed to Federal Minister for Northern Australia Madeleine King:

“The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, is at the heart of the Australian Government’s northern Australia agenda.

“Under the new investment mandate, the Albanese Government has instructed NAIF to deepen its investment in social infrastructure, including in remote and regional housing.

“I want to see NAIF invest further in remote and regional housing, particularly in projects that benefit First Nations communities.

“A strong north means a strong Australia.”

Quotes attributed to Federal Minister for Finance Katy Gallagher:

“The updated investment mandate ensures NAIF’s continued high standards for risk and financial management.

“Amendments to the investment mandate strengthen the expectation the NAIF will consult and collaborate with other Australian Government entities, including to support the Net Zero Economy Agency’s role in the transition to net zero emissions. 

“These changes empower NAIF to continue to leverage and align with national priorities and programs to crowd in investment in the north.”

Quotes attributed to Member for Solomon Luke Gosling OAM MP:

“The Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) continues to provide the economic and social infrastructure needed to advance local businesses, communities, and First Nations people across the North.

“The NAIF has already supported a portfolio of ambitious and transformational projects that will grow our local economy for decades to come - including a $151.12 million investment in Charles Darwin University, $300 million for the Darwin Ship Lift, $150 million in upgrades to airports in Darwin, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs and $31.4 million towards the expansion of the Humpty Doo Barramundi Farm.

“The Australian Government will continue to work with the NAIF to ensure its investment benefits the local community and leads to the creation of new local jobs.”