NAIF loan approvals top $1 billion, nothing still for CQ
WHILE the Coalition Government celebrated another NAIF milestone yesterday, Central Queensland continues to await funding to flow towards a local project.
Standing on the bank of the Fitzroy River, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Senator Matt Canavan welcomed two investment decisions from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, resulting in its project loan approvals exceeding $1 billion, saying that the NAIF was now "firing on all cylinders".
He confirmed that the NAIF had approved a loan of up to $150 million to Northern Territory Airports and up to $50 million for another undisclosed project in North Queensland.
"NAIF is announcing two loan investment decisions today that total $200 million and take its total commitment in investment decisions or conditional approvals for infrastructure projects in Northern Australia to $1.18 billion," Mr Canavan said.
"NAIF conditionally approved the loan to NTA in September 2018. It will fund infrastructure projects as part of a $300 million infrastructure expansion package across airport sites in Darwin, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs.
"With the North Queensland project, details of this project currently remain commercial in confidence - while the proponent concludes commercial approvals and negotiations - but I expect to be able to announce details in coming weeks.
He said this took the total value of current NAIF loan commitments from supported projects with an estimated total capital value of $2.533 billion.
Mr Canavan said "there were a number of very exciting projects in Central Queensland that I hope to have more to say on very soon".
One of those projects was previously flagged Signature Onfarm beef processing facility near Clermont, which was making "positive progress" towards securing the necessary financial backing "but was not quite at the finish line yet".
He said there were a lot of other projects in the beef sector being considered by NAIF, due to strong investor interest in the Beef Capital.
Touted by Mr Canavan in 2016 as continuing "the legacy of other great nation-building initiatives", the NAIF has weathered years of criticism from Labor for failing to deliver coal hard cash to Queensland projects, particularly in Central Queensland.
Recognising the need to reduce the restrictions on NAIF to assist in bringing projects to financial close, the Federal Government amended NAIF's investment mandate last year to speed up the process.
According to a NAIF spokesperson, in Queensland there are 10 projects in the due diligence phase and 79 active inquiries.
These 79 inquiries make up 62 per cent of NAIF's total active inquiries across Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.
Labor's candidate for Capricornia Russell Robertson criticised NAIF's failure not only deliver for Queensland, but also to meet their 2017-18 corporate plan, which set the target for $1 billion worth of investments by July last year.
"Despite the announcements, after almost three-and-a-half years the NAIF has only actually given less than $5 million in funding to one project in far west Western Australia," Mr Robertson said.
"Not a single real job has been created in Queensland as a result of the NAIF."
He said the only jobs that have come out of the NAIF have been for directors.
"This was confirmed by the CEO for the NAIF himself, it is ridiculous for Matt Canavan to claim otherwise," he said.
"Matt Canavan needs to explain why, nearly three-and-a-half years after the NAIF was announced, it is yet to create a single job in Central Queensland."
$1 billion in NAIF projects
- Northern Territory Airports, NT, up to $150 million.
- James Cook University, Queensland, up to $98 million.
- Sheffield Resources Limited, WA, up to $95 million.
- Commercial In confidence project, Queensland, up to $50 million.
- Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, NT, up to $27.5 million.
- Pilbara Minerals Limited, WA, up to $19.5 million.
- Onslow Marine Supply Base, WA, up to $16.8 million.
- Humpty Doo Barramundi Farm, NT, up to $7.18 million, with potential up to $30 million over three stages.
Total: $463.98 million
- Genex Power, Queensland, $450 - $516 million.
- Amaroo (Verdant), NT, up to $160 million.
- Commercial in confidence project, up to $25 million.
- Commercial in confidence project, up to $90 million.
Total: $725 million
Combined total: $1.188 billion