Frequently asked questions

How does the NAIF work?

The NAIF’s independent statutory board makes investment decisions according to the Investment Mandate, in order to achieve the objectives of:

  • supporting the construction of economic infrastructure that provides a basis for the longer term expansion of industry and population in northern Australia;
  • ensuring the Commonwealth is repaid in full and provides only the concessionality necessary to allow a particular project to proceed;
  • operating in partnership with commercial lenders, not in competition;
  • supporting infrastructure projects that provide future economic benefits;
  • being credible in financial markets and meeting public sector accountability standards; and
  • catalysing further private sector investment in northern Australia.

The Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic) provides administrative support to the NAIF and ensures that a robust financial and governance framework are met. This includes financial analysis, risk structuring and due diligence to the same level of commercial lenders.

What kind of projects will be eligible for NAIF financial assistance?

The criteria for NAIF projects are outlined in the Investment Mandate.

There are seven mandatory criteria (Schedule 1) for NAIF funding and preference will be given to projects which meet one or both of the non-mandatory criteria (Schedule 2).

Projects will need to demonstrate public benefit, involve construction of infrastructure, have an Indigenous engagement strategy and the loan will need to be repaid. Projects do not need to be entirely within the boundaries of Northern Australia if they produce significant benefits for the north. For example, a project that enhances north-south connectivity may be eligible.

What kind of financial instruments will the NAIF offer?

The choice of financial instruments will be determined on a case-by-case basis, and be tailored to the specific needs of respective projects. The financial instruments may form any part of the capital structure, excluding equity. Concessions will only be provided to the extent required to ensure the project’s viability and terms may be included in so that the Commonwealth can share in any better than expected financial performance by the supported project. 

When will the financial assistance be available?

The NAIF became operational on 1 July 2016. Interested project proponents who believe that their project might satisfy the eligibility criteria for NAIF set out in the Investment Mandate may make an expression of interest at any time by contacting or 1300 GO NAIF (1300 466 243). 

What is meant by concessional?

The concessional features of NAIF financial instruments are tailored to meet individual projects. Loans are the default financing mechanism, and concessional features may include a lower interest rate, longer tenor and/or different repayment arrangements to the private sector.

Legislative definition of concessionality can be found in the NAIF Investment Mandate.

What is economic infrastructure?

Economic infrastructure incorporates physical structures, such as rail, communication networks and water, which increase in economic activities and population in a region. Legislative definition of economic infrastructure can be found in the NAIF Investment Mandate.

What is included in northern Australia?

For the purposes of the NAIF, Northern Australia includes all of the Northern Territory, and those parts of Queensland and Western Australia above and directly below or intersecting the Tropic of Capricorn. See Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Act 2016 for a detailed definition.

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