After three year wait for action, NAIF changes to boost CQ
FOR three long years the people of Central Queensland have waited for the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to fund a project in this region, or for that matter, this state.
During this time, Labor's politicians have continually slammed NAIF's failure to deliver funding for CQ projects, consequently forcing the federal government to ring in the changes to their Investment Mandate to expedite NAIF's processes.
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said his government made the changes based on the findings of an independent expert review of NAIF to increase NAIF's flexibility and improve its potential to support projects that deliver more jobs and economic opportunities to Northern Australia.
NAIF CEO Laurie Walker said the changes would give them a broader reach, provide additional flexibility and the opportunity to accelerate development of infrastructure.
With NAIF set to be significantly unshackled, it was hoped the CQ region would see action sooner, rather than later on projects for the region.
Due to commercial in confidence restrictions, Ms Walker said they were unable to reveal specifically what projects from our region were in the pipeline or stood to benefit from the changes to the investment mandate.
"There are occasions where the proponents agree that we can do that, for example, it's on the public record that we are looking at the Kinston Project, which is a renewables project (in North Queensland) and that was with the agreement of the client,” Ms Walker said.
Senator Canavan confirmed late last year that the Great Keppel Island resort redevelopment was another project that could benefit from NAIF's support and newfound increased flexibility.
"I'm not going to comment on individual investors except to say that project, it's common knowledge that it is before the NAIF and being worked through and the general comments I've said about it before, about resorts on islands are always a challenging environment to make pay off,” Senator Canavan said.
Ms Walker said more projects would qualify (including smaller projects), NAIF could lend more and would have more flexibility with their gap test of the project proceeding without their assistance.
"With the mandate changes NAIF will re-pivot and look at projects that previously may have been ineligible or would have taken longer to finance,” she said.
"We encourage investors to also bring forward their ideas and projects to us, to see how the mandate changes may work for them to partner with NAIF in growing northern Australia.”