It is welcomed news that the Federal Government's Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) has adjusted its investment model to improve its potential to support major projects requiring loans in Northern Australia.
Today's announcement from Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator Matt Canavan, comes after an independent review on the NAIF. The changes, which are consistent with constructive feedback from Townsville Enterprise, will provide North Queensland projects better and more flexible access to a concessional loan, allowing major infrastructure projects to get off the ground quicker in our region.
The key changes to the NAIF Investment Mandate include:
- Removal of the 50% cap (NAIF now financing the full 100% of the project)
- Expanding the definition of infrastructure to better reflect the needs of regional areas
- Establishing regional development hubs to support projects in the latter stages of financing
Whilst there is potential in North Queensland for various infrastructure projects to receive a loan, across the past two years since the NAIF's inception, some of the feedback has been that the framework was challenging and limiting. Of course we look forward to engaging on the detail, but any steps to make programs like this more flexible and that better assist North Queensland investment and jobs is welcome, and is an acknowledgement that the Government is listening to Northern Australia's business community.