Townsville Airport NAIF loan

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) has provided a $50 million loan to help fund an upgrade of Townsville Airport.

The NAIF loan will contribute towards Queensland Airports’ $80 million Project Alive redevelopment, which aims to deliver an improved terminal able to meet current and expected passenger capacity, and core infrastructure.

The project will take more than two years to complete.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan, Townsville-based Senator, Ian Macdonald, and Member for Dawson, George Christensen, announced the NAIF funding at Townsville Airport.

The Townsville Airport project is the NAIF’s second investment decision to drive real jobs and economic growth for the Townsville region, after the $96 million NAIF loan to help develop a Technology Innovation Complex at James Cook University announced in July last year.

NAIF has now committed – through investment decisions and conditional approvals – $623 million in Queensland.

In total, NAIF has made ten investment decisions across Northern Australia, with a further three projects given conditional approval. The value of total investments, including conditional approvals, is approximately $1.3 billion.

The capital value of these projects is approximately $2.8 billion.

Mr Canavan said that backing this major project marks a vote of confidence from the Federal Government on Townsville’s bright future, despite the tough past month for the town.

“As the largest city in Northern Australia, Townsville is the gateway for many who travel to Northern Australia,” Mr Canavan said.

“Townsville deserves a world-class airport to make an impression on visitors and this investment will help achieve that.

“The Federal Government will help Townsville rebuild but we are also backing it to bounce back even stronger.”

Mr Christensen said the NAIF-supported project would create much-needed jobs in the region.

“This re-development of the Townsville Airport will support more than 200 full-time equivalent jobs during construction and 50 full-time operational jobs after the project is completed,” Mr Christensen said.

“Townsville Airport already supports more than 3,000 jobs and contributes $420 million to the economy, and it is a vital transport hub for North Queensland.

“The last significant terminal upgrade occurred in 2003 and since then the airport’s passenger movements have grown by more than 80 per cent.

“To generate maximum economic benefits in North Queensland, this airport needs to grow and respond quickly to the opportunities from increasing air travel and tourism.”

Mr Macdonald welcomed the announcement as a “shot in the arm” for the Townsville region.

“Funding this upgrade means turbo-charging the airport’s performance by reducing passenger congestion and delays, with more people flowing into the region for business, personal travel and holiday activities, spreading wealth throughout the region,” Mr Macdonald said.

The Australian Airports Association (AAA) welcomed the announcement, saying the redevelopment would create new tourism and trade opportunities for the north Queensland region.

AAA Chief Executive Officer, Caroline Wilkie, said the Federal Government had recognised the importance of Townsville Airport in driving regional growth.

“The airport redevelopment is absolutely essential, with passenger numbers increasing more than 80 per cent since the airport was last upgraded,” Ms Wilkie said.

“This project will not only meet the needs of today’s passengers, but will ensure Townsville Airport can support future growth to facilitate tourism and trade in the region in years to come.

“It is fantastic to see the NAIF being used to help deliver airport infrastructure that will create real opportunities for Northern Australia.”

Ms Wilkie said it was now important for Qantas to get behind the project as well.

“We encourage Qantas to join the Federal Government and Virgin Australia in their support for the project to ensure the airport can get on with the job of meeting the needs of passengers and the community,” Ms Wilkie said.

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