The Government has reached another milestone in the establishment of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) by announcing that Cairns, Queensland, will host its headquarters. Among Cairns’ many strengths are its undisputed connectivity to Asian markets, including Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan and strong domestic connectivity.
Further, project proponents and financiers now have access to expert advice from the Government’s export credit agency, the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC), to help ensure projects are ready for the NAIF’s formal launch.
Minister Frydenberg said the decision to headquarter the NAIF in Cairns was an essential step towards implementing the $5 billion facility, proposed in the Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia.
“We are implementing our plan to unlock the huge economic potential of northern Australia and the NAIF is a centrepiece of this plan. It will help deliver the infrastructure projects needed to drive economic and population growth in our north”, Mr Frydenberg said.
“The Government has now introduced the legislation to establish the facility in the Parliament, released its Investment Mandate for public consultation, and announced the location of its headquarters. It is full steam ahead to get this infrastructure moving”, he said.
Minister Canavan said the announcement that Cairns would host the NAIF headquarters was great news for northern Australia and North Queensland.
“Northern Australia punches well above its weight in terms of economic growth. It is home to just six per cent of our population, but produces 11 per cent of our GDP. Locating a facility charged with developing this vital part of Australia in the north underscores our ongoing and genuine commitment to the region’s long term development.”
As the Federal Member for Leichhardt, the electorate where Cairns is located, Mr Entsch noted the important contribution this will make to highlight the strengths and capabilities of northern Australia.
“Locating the office in Cairns makes absolute sense,” he said. “Our region is a hub for agriculture, tourism, education and energy resources, coupled with a sizeable population base. We also have outstanding connectivity – Cairns International Airport recently rated 13th in the world’s top 20 best-performing small airports and we have direct flights to almost every capital city in Australia as well as excellent connections internationally.”
“Cairns also sits at the intersection of the two great regions of global economic and population growth – Asia and the tropics – and, like much of northern Australia, is a gateway to Asia. I’m certainly looking forward to the establishment of the office of the NAIF here in Cairns”, he said.
Project financiers and proponents will now also benefit from the expert assistance of EFIC in developing their projects. As Australia’s export credit agency with experience in supporting companies to reach new markets and partnering with the financial sector, EFIC will be able to provide practical assistance in assessing projects, negotiating with project proponents, and administering financial facilities. This will help ensure the NAIF hits the ground running, and that decisions on projects can be made as soon as the facility is established.