Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility


The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) was established on 1 July 2016 by the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Act 2016 (NAIF Act). The NAIF is a corporate Commonwealth entity for the purpose of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013

The NAIF Act sets out the Facility’s purpose and functions and establishes arrangements for the Board, Chief Executive Officer and staff.

Purpose and Functions 

NAIF’s projects stimulate economic growth by attracting private investment, fostering infrastructure development and supporting various industries. The NAIF helps create both direct and indirect jobs, benefiting local communities and contributing to the region’s workforce.

The NAIF’s function, as described in the NAIF Act, is to:

  • provide grants of financial assistance to the States and Territories and other entities for the development of Northern Australia economic infrastructure
  • provide financial assistance to entities other than States and Territories with respect to:
    • benefiting Indigenous persons
    • trade and commerce
    • a postal, telegraphic, telephonic or other like service
    • the defence of the Commonwealth and the States
    • external affairs such as the achievement of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets
    • railway construction or extension.

Responsible Ministers

The Minister for Northern Australia and the Minister for Finance are defined as responsible ministers under the NAIF Act. The responsible ministers issue directions about the performance of the NAIF’s functions. The Minister for Northern Australia appoints members to the NAIF Board.

Investment Mandate

The responsible ministers must provide directions about the performance of the NAIF’s functions by issuing an Investment Mandate. The most recent Investment Mandate came into effect on 15 December 2023 and includes guidance in relation to:

  • the types of projects eligible for the NAIF financial assistance (including new infrastructure or activities to grow the capacity of existing infrastructure)
  • arrangements to support smaller projects through funding project proponents directly
  • what economic benefit may be considered for a public benefit
  • types of concession the NAIF can offer in its concessional loan products
  • the use of alternate financing mechanisms, including higher-risk instruments such as derivatives and equity investments
  • the Australian Government’s expectations in regard to risk.

The NAIF Investment Mandate is a legislative instrument, which is not subject to disallowance. Further information on the Investment Mandate can be found in the Explanatory Statement.

Statement of Expectations

In December 2022 and on 7 July 2023 respectively, the responsible ministers issued a Statement of Expectations and an addendum to the Statement of Expectation to the NAIF Board, as the accountable authority for the NAIF. This document provides strategic direction to the NAIF Board on the governance and performance of the NAIF. The NAIF Board responded with a Statement of Intent and a subsequent addendum to the Statement of Intent.

Board appointment and membership

The NAIF Board consists of the Chair and at least 4, and no more than 6, other members who are appointed by the Minister for Northern Australia. Members are appointed on a part-time basis for a maximum term of 3 years, with the possibility of reappointment. Section 15 of the NAIF Act specifies the appointment criteria for the Board.


Future reviews

A Statutory Review on the operation of the NAIF Act is to be conducted as soon as possible after 30 June 2024. 

Past reviews

A Statutory Review of the NAIF was published in December 2020.

Further information

For queries regarding the NAIF’s investments, or if you are seeking funding from the NAIF, please refer to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility website.

Queries on policy matters regarding the NAIF should be directed to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts, which has the primary portfolio responsibility for the NAIF.

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