northern australiaComment is being sought by 29 March 2016 on a major part of the Commonwealth Government’s strategy to tap the potential of Northern Australia: the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility’s (NAIF) Investment Mandate.

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility is expected to go live on 1 July, with concessional loans being made available shortly thereafter. The Investment Mandate builds on the project eligibility criteria released as part of last November’s consultation paper and contains key structural information relevant for both project sponsors and lenders together with each project’s host government.

Financing major infrastructure: The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility

The economic potential of Northern Australia has been in the spotlight in recent months, especially with its richness in resources, enormous landmass and its agricultural potential, its proximity to our major trading partners in the Asia-Pacific, and the potential application of smart technology and remote renewable energy.

Recognising this opportunity, and as part of its strategy for Northern Australia as set out in the “Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia“, the Commonwealth Government released a Consultation Paper late last year, setting out the policy framework for the $5 billion NAIF.

Through the NAIF the Government is seeking to partner with the private sector and State and Territory Governments to provide concessional loans to finance major economic infrastructure projects in Northern Australia such as airports, ports, roads, rail, energy, water and communications infrastructure.

The Investment Mandate: mandatory eligibility criteria

The mandatory eligibility criteria which must be satisfied for a project to be eligible for financial assistance from the NAIF are mostly unchanged from November:

  • enhancement of economic infrastructure;
  • public benefit;
  • the project is unlikely to proceed, or proceed at a much later date, without NAIF assistance (more on this below);
  • the project is located in, or will have a significant benefit for, Northern Australia;
  • NAIF finance will not exceed 50% of total debt for the proposed project; and
  • comprehensive financial modelling to demonstrate ability of the project to repay NAIF debt.

An additional seventh mandatory criterion has been added, with the project proponent now required to provide an Indigenous engagement strategy reflective of the Indigenous population in the region of the project. To read more click here.

The Developing Northern Australia Conference Above the Line – unleashing the north’s potential will be held on 20-22 June 2016 at Darwin Convention Centre.

The Conference continues the dialogue started in 2015 following the release of the Australian Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia. To register your attendance at the conference CLICK HERE.  Early bird registrations close 6 May 2016, so be quick to receive a discounted rate.