CDU expansion secures NAIF conditional approval

Charles Darwin University’s plan to build a CBD campus in Darwin is a step closer to reality, with the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) giving its funding proposal conditional approval.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said CDU’s application for a loan of up to $150 million would continue to progress through the NAIF assessment process, with the next step being an investment decision by the NAIF Board.

“The project includes transferring part of CDU’s existing campus at Casuarina to the Darwin CBD, and constructing new buildings at the Casuarina campus. Enhancing the existing campus and adding a presence in the CBD will add to Darwin’s reputation as an education destination for students from home and abroad,” Mr Canavan said.

“Building new university teaching and research facilities, as well as other infrastructure throughout the campus, will attract more students to the city and allow the university to provide even more specialised courses.

“It will also help drive prosperity in northern Australia for years to come, with expectations that a CBD campus could boost the region’s economic output by more than $250 million over the next 15 years and support an extra 54 jobs by 2023.”

Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the relocation of the CDU campus to the CBD was a key element of the Darwin City Deal.

“We want to see Darwin thrive and the new education precinct will mean an influx of students in the city centre, boosting demand for cafes, restaurants, bars and retail stores,” Mr Tudge said.

Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the Government was investing in a new CDU campus to increase higher education access for local students and to further improve the attractiveness of Darwin as a study destination.

“Our Government believes that every Australian, no matter where they live, should have access to a world-class education,” Mr Tehan said.

“The new CDU campus in Darwin will enable more Territorians to get a high-quality education without leaving their local community.

“We are supporting more Australians to get a university degree, with all the benefits that brings.

“International education contributed $37.6 billion to the Australian economy last year and this new campus will further help the Northern Territory share in the benefits of Australia’s third largest export sector.”

Senator for the Northern Territory Dr Sam McMahon welcomed progress on the application and said the CDU expansion would support new and ongoing jobs in the NT.

“We want jobs in the NT and adding to the facilities and courses at CDU would be a real opportunity to boost the NT’s educational opportunities and create new, skilled jobs for Territorians,” Dr McMahon said.

The CDU project is part of the Darwin City Deal announced by the Prime Minister a little over a year ago, and adds to the strong pipeline of NAIF investments and conditional approvals being delivered in the NT including:

  • Humpty Doo Barramundi Farm - up to $7.18 million
  • Voyages Indigenous Tourism - up to $27.5 million
  • Northern Territory Airports Pty Ltd - up to $150 million
  • Darwin ship lift facility - up to $300 million
  • Verdant Minerals Limited - up to $160 million (conditional approval)

NT projects have now been allocated more than $795 million in NAIF loan financing, including CDU’s conditional approval.

A diverse range of job-generating projects are being supported, including ports, roads and airports, and investments that support businesses in tourism, education, agriculture, resources and renewable energy.

The NAIF has so far committed around $1.93 billion in investment decisions and conditional approvals to 17 projects, supporting development across northern Australia which is forecast to create almost 4,600 jobs.

Overall, projects supported to date by NAIF are set to return $4.6 billion in public benefit.

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