$27.5 million NAIF loan to upgrade Ayers Rock airport

Joint media release with the Minister for Indigenous Affairs

A Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) loan of $27.5 million will help upgrade the Ayers Rock (Connellan) Airport.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the loan would help increase the airport’s visitor throughput capacity, create 80 new jobs in construction and protect more than 300 local jobs for years to come.

Minister Canavan said the NAIF’s loan to Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, operator of the airport, brought the total value of investment decisions and conditional approvals in the Northern Territory to more than $340 million.

“It’s great to be here on the ground in Central Australia to announce another NAIF approval for investment in the Northern Territory. An investment in the major airport servicing Uluru and its local communities will bring really significant economic and social benefits,” Minister Canavan said.

“It also demonstrates that the NAIF can fund a diverse range of infrastructure, including tourism infrastructure. Uluru is a major drawcard that attracts visitors from around the world. The Government’s investment here will help improve the attraction of an Australian tourism icon.

“The loan will help finance upgrades of the airport’s runway, taxiway and apron, install runway lighting and build contractor accommodation.

“These works are expected to support up to 320 full time equivalent jobs and create around $370 million in economic benefits for the wider community over the next two decades.

“The NAIF Board’s revised Investment Mandate was an important part of giving NAIF the tools it needs to finance 100 per cent of this project’s debt and gave NAIF the flexibility it needs to deliver jobs and economic opportunities in Central Australia.”

Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said NAIF’s investment to upgrade the airport’s runway would help Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia employ and retain Indigenous Australians in real jobs.

“Voyages has a real focus on Indigenous employment, with a workforce of around 40 per cent Indigenous people and another 100 Indigenous Australians starting at its training academy every year. This particular project will also source between 3 and 5 per cent of its goods and materials from companies that are Indigenous owned,” Minister Scullion said.

“The Coalition Government is solidly supporting tourism in Central Australia. The upgrade to this airport supports the overall growth in tourism to Uluru and is essential in maintaining the airport’s role as a gateway for visitors to Ayers Rock Resort and the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

“The airport is also an important facility for police, emergency and medical services in Central Australia.”

NAIF’s first investment in the Northern Territory was to Humpty Doo Barramundi, the largest producer of farmed barramundi in Australia. The investment supported the expansion of the business, creating regional jobs and improving Northern Australia’s ability to meet growing seafood demand.

Conditional approval has been given for a loan of up to $160 million to Verdant Minerals to mine phosphate deposits in the Northern Territory through its Ammaroo project.

NAIF has also conditionally approved a $150 million loan to Northern Territory Airports Pty Ltd (NTA) to fund infrastructure works including the construction of a cold storage and export hub at Darwin International Airport, upgrades at the Alice Springs Airport, solar energy farms and an off-site multi-user battery across NTA’s sites.

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