The Federal Government has announced that it is updating the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility’s (NAIF) investment mandate, to ensure that future investment decisions on potential projects align with the government’s priorities. 

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 $500 million commitment under the NAIF for critical minerals projects.

The Federal Government has said that growing the critical minerals sector will contribute to broader national and economic security, emissions reduction, green trade, investment and industry growth.

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

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

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

Federal Minister for Northern Australia, Madeleine King, said that the NAIF is at the heart of the Federal Government’s northern Australia agenda.

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

“I want to see NAIF invest further in remote and regional housing, particularly in projects that benefit First Nations communities.

“A strong north means a strong Australia.”

Federal Minister for Finance, Katy Gallagher, said that 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 Federal Government entities, including to support the Net Zero Economy Agency’s role in the transition to net zero emissions,” Ms Gallagher said. 

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

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