Changes to the investment mandate of the North Australia Infrastructure Facility has the potential to create more jobs for Territorians.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said that he welcomed the changes at the Ministerial Forum on Northern Development in Kununurra, yesterday.
“My Government's number one priority is creating local jobs, and the NAIF needs to start delivering for Territorians,” he said.
Alongside Mr Gunner, treasurer Nicole Manison and assistant minister for Aboriginal Affairs Selena Uibo attended the forum.
“The NAIF has the capacity to create jobs for Territorians, but has yet to deliver any loans for Territory projects,” Mr Gunner said.
“The changes confirmed by Minister Canavan today, give the NAIF more flexibility in funding Territory projects and cut red tape for applicants,” he said.
The main changes are:
• The removal of the $50 million project threshold, which was never mandatory, but created confusion for applicants and industry.
• A change in definition of “infrastructure” beyond road, rail and other projects, to also include supplies, services and facilities, which are essential to establishing business in remote regions.
• The removal of the 50 per cent cap on the debt taken on by the NAIF. This will allows the NAIF more than half of the debt of a project, provided it is not the major risk taker.
Mr Gunner said the changes would create more flexibility for investors in the Territory looking to capitalise on the $5 billion NAIF fund.
“It’s important however, that the Federal Government and NAIF start getting on with the job. It’s taken far too long for the NAIF to start investing in projects in the north and is yet to fund a single Territory project,” he said.