Manufacturing News, Northern Territory

NAIF investment pivots to focus on economic and social development

The Australian Government is updating the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility’s investment to better align national priorities.

The Australian Government is updating the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility’s (NAIF) investment mandate to better align national priorities to projects that deliver economic, social and community outcomes for northern communities.

Under the new investment mandate, tabled in Parliament this week, the NAIF must be satisfied when making investment decisions that potential projects align with one or more of Australian Government policy priorities including:

  • economic development in the north
  • alleviating social or economic disadvantage in northern Australian communities, including the development of social infrastructure
  • achieving Australia’s net zero and energy transition goals
  • improving First Nations outcomes and contributing to Closing the Gap.

The changes will also formally align NAIF investments with the objectives of the Critical Minerals Strategy 2023-2030, following the Government’s $500m commitment under the NAIF for critical minerals projects.

Growing the critical minerals sector will contribute to broader national and economic security, emissions reduction, green trade, investment and industry growth.

Federal minister for northern Australia Madeleine King, stated, “The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility is at the heart of the Australian Government’s northern Australia agenda.”

“Under the new investment mandate, the Australian Government has instructed NAIF to deepen its investment in social infrastructure, including in remote and regional housing.”

To date, NAIF has approved nearly $4bn in loan investments across a range of sectors including critical minerals, energy, agriculture, student accommodation, health, aquaculture, universities, and airports.

This includes $655m for critical minerals and rare-earth projects forecast to deliver $5.5bn to the economy and 2,500 jobs.

Federal Minister for Finance Katy Gallagher said, “The updated investment mandate ensures NAIF’s continued high standards for risk and financial management.”

“Amendments to the investment mandate strengthen the expectation the NAIF will consult and collaborate with other Australian Government entities, including to support the Net Zero Economy Agency’s role in the transition to net zero emissions.”

“These changes empower NAIF to continue to leverage and align with national priorities and programs to crowd in investment in the north.”

In 2022-23 alone, NAIF approved $491m in new loans, supporting over 1,000 new jobs in the north.

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