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NAIF supporting energy security and new jobs in NT

2 September 2020

Joint media release with Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction the Hon Angus Taylor, and Senator for the Northern Territory Dr Sam McMahon.

The Australian Government is continuing to support economic growth and development in the Northern Territory through funding for two new electricity projects which will improve energy security for Darwin and the Top End.

The Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) has approved a $37 million loan to Merricks Capital Ltd for a new 12 megawatt gas-fired power plant in Darwin and a 10 megawatt solar and battery farm near Batchelor, 100 kilometres south of Darwin.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the loan took NAIF’s total approved or conditional approvals for projects in the Northern Territory to more than $830 million, underlining the Government’s strong support for northern Australia.

“These new energy projects will help modernise Darwin’s energy networks and reduce reliance on older and less-efficient gas and diesel generators,” Minister Pitt said.

“They will link with existing transmission infrastructure between Darwin and  Katherine, and will supply up to 90 per cent of future electricity generation needs for the Territory’s largest energy retailer Rimfire.”

The Hudson Creek power station and the Batchelor Solar and Battery Farm would  create around 160 new jobs during the construction phase.

Under the funding agreement, the project proponents will also work with the Larrakia National Aboriginal Corporation to deliver a range of initiatives including cross-cultural awareness training to employees and contractors.

Assistant Minister for Northern Australia Michelle Landry said NAIF projects across the Northern Territory will support more than 2,900 jobs and generate more than $2 billion in forecast net economic benefit.

“Today’s announcement follows the Government’s decision in July to extend the NAIF and continue to fund vital infrastructure projects for a further five years until 2026,” Assistant Minister Landry said.

“NAIF continues to play a crucial role in the Government’s agenda to help northern Australia develop and grow, and to help unlock the north’s economic potential.”

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said these new projects will improve energy security, reliability and affordability in the Territory.

“The Government is focused on supporting new energy generation projects that create new jobs and that deliver affordable, reliable power.

“These projects will help to lower power prices for Territorians, helping to back local businesses and strengthen the economy,” Minister Taylor said.

CLP Senator for the Northern Territory Dr Sam McMahon said it’s good to see the NAIF continue supporting local jobs in the Territory.

“In July, we had Minister Pitt in Darwin to confirm a $151 million NAIF loan to support the expansion of Charles Darwin University and now we’re seeing it support jobs in the energy sector.

“Power generation and transmission infrastructure have been badly neglected leading to widespread blackouts and a lack of reliability. This investment will see a much needed reserve capacity added for Top End consumers and stability for the network,” Senator McMahon said.

“Our Government is strongly committed to the north and announcements like this show how important the NAIF can be to our post-COVID economic recovery in the Territory.”

Media contacts:

Minister Pitt's office 02 6277 7180

Minister Taylor's office 02 6277 7120

Assistant Minister Landry's office 02 6277 4283

Senator McMahon's office 02 6277 3643