The Australian Government announced the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) in the 2015-16 Budget. It is a major initiative of the Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia (Our North, Our Future) and is integral to the Government’s strategy for the north. The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Act 2016 was passed by Parliament on 3 May 2016 and will establish the NAIF from 1 July 2016.
The NAIF will offer up to $5 billion in concessional finance to encourage and complement private sector investment in economic infrastructure that otherwise would not be built or would not be built for some time. This support for transformative economic infrastructure will be a significant step for the longer term expansion of the economy and population in northern Australia.
The headquarters of the NAIF will be in Cairns. Locating the headquarters of the facility charged with investing in the north in northern Australia underscores the Australian Government’s commitment to the region’s long term development.
The NAIF is being supported by the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic), Australia’s export credit agency. The support of Efic will also help to ensure projects are ready for the establishment of the NAIF on 1 July 2016.
The Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, is the Minister responsible for the implementation of the NAIF, supported by the Minister for Northern Australia, Senator the Hon Matthew Canavan. The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science is supporting both Ministers.
On 4 May 2016, the independent Board of the NAIF was announced. Ms Sharon Warburton (WA) has been appointed Chair designate of the board and from July, she will be joined by:
- Mr Barry Coulter (NT)
- Mr Justin Mannolini (WA)
- Mr Khory McCormick (QLD)
- Dr Sally Pitkin (QLD)
- Mr Bill Shannon (QLD)
- Ms Karla Way-McPhail (QLD
Prior to the commencement of the NAIF, Ms Sharon Warburton (chair designate) will be working closely with Efic and the department to build the profile of the NAIF amongst stakeholders.
The Government consulted widely with stakeholders in designing and implementing the NAIF through release of the November 2015 Consultation Paper, exposure draft of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Bill 2016 (the Bill) in January 2016, and release of the draft Investment Mandate in March 2016. Stakeholders expressed strong support during consultations with feedback incorporated into the final Bill, which passed through Parliament on 3 May 2016.
The Investment Mandate, issued by the Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, sets out the Government’s instructions to the Facility’s Board when making investment decisions and will take effect on 1 July 2016. The mandate includes: types of financial assistance that may be offered; characteristics of financial assistance including concession and loan conditions; eligibility criteria for financial assistance; and consultation requirements.
Ahead of the 1 July 2016 commencement of the NAIF, project proponents and related parties are encouraged to contact Efic at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1800 887 588.
To register for updates on the NAIF please email email@example.com.