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$5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility

9 November 2015

Today the Government released a consultation paper to seek feedback on the proposed design and operation of the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).

Northern Australia contributes over 11 per cent of Australia’s GDP. With 40 per cent of Australia’s land mass, but only around five per cent of our population, it has enormous economic growth potential.

The Northern Australia White Paper, released in June this year, sets out the Government’s development plan for the north. The NAIF is a cornerstone of this plan.

Commencing in 2016-17, the NAIF will offer up to $5 billion in concessional loans over five years to encourage and complement investment in northern Australian infrastructure.

NAIF loans will be used to finance major economic projects, like airports, ports, roads, rail, energy, water and communications infrastructure. The loans will help to build the economic capacity and longer term expansion of industry and population in northern Australia, and deliver public benefit to all Australians.

Importantly, the NAIF will not crowd out private investment, but will work in partnership with the private sector and the Northern Territory, Queensland, and Western Australia governments.

The consultation paper released today sets out the proposed NAIF administration structure, noting that the Government intends to appoint an independent statutory board to make investment decisions.

The paper also outlines draft NAIF eligibility criteria, including that: projects involve construction or enhancement of economic infrastructure, projects are of public benefit, a project is unlikely to proceed or will proceed at a much later date without NAIF assistance, NAIF finance will be able to be repaid, NAIF loans should be for at least $50 million, and NAIF finance must not exceed 50 per cent of total project debt, which in practice means projects will have a capital cost of more than $100 million.

The NAIF has the potential to be a game changer for northern Australia, so it is important that it works as effectively as possible. With this in mind, I encourage all interested stakeholders to participate in the consultation process.

Submissions close on 30 November 2015 and should be sent via email to: naif [at] industry.gov.au

More information is available at www.industry.gov.au/naif.

Media Contact: Mr Frydenberg's office 02 6277 7180