How we operate

Project proponents are encouraged to review this process page, the NAIF mandatory eligibility criteria and our Frequently Asked Questions prior to providing NAIF with information. Based on a review of this information, if you believe your project might be eligible for NAIF finance, please contact NAIF by emailing details of your project (including project scope, size and status) to the NAIF team. A member of the NAIF team will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

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NAIF Assessment and Approval Process

The NAIF assessment & approval process involves the following phases.

Initial Review

  • During this phase you are required to demonstrate that the project has the potential to satisfy the NAIF mandatory eligibility criteria
  • We will conduct a Strategic Assessment of the project which includes evaluating the project against our strategic assessment considerations.  For eligible projects, a Strategic Assessment Paper (“SAP”) will be prepared and presented to NAIF’s investment review bodies. The strategic assessment considerations  include:
    • The capabilities and track record of the proponent, sponsors, management and consultants.
    • That the project involves the development or enhancement of infrastructure, in (or that will have significant benefit for) northern Australia.
    • The pathways for the project to be fully funded, including availability of equity to support the project, and whether credible co-financiers have been identified.
    • That there is a sufficiently developed and viable business case, which enables financial close to occur within a reasonable time.
    • Revenue certainty and realistic operating cost forecasts, in support of debt repayment.
    • The project’s executability, including strategy to achieve close in a reasonable timeframe.
    • An assessment of environmental and social considerations: see Environment and Social Review of Transactions Policy.
    • That the project has the potential to meet NAIF’s Public Benefit Guidelines and Indigenous Engagement Strategy guidelines.
    • That NAIF funding is needed for the project.

This step does not constitute an Investment Decision, nor is it an offer of finance. It does not guarantee that the NAIF eligibility criteria will be met, nor is it an endorsement of any specific terms or conditions.

Relevant government stakeholders (Commonwealth, State and Territory) will be consulted and informed.

Detailed Review

  • During this phase, we undertake detailed project due diligence, including project, financial and credit risk analysis, and technical, environmental and social risk analysis (View the NAIF ESR Policy).
  • We will work collaboratively with you and any co-financiers to develop appropriate terms and conditions for NAIF’s finance.
  • We must assess whether the proposed transaction satisfies all the requirements of the NAIF Act and Investment Mandate.
  • We will carry out additional consultation with relevant Commonwealth, State and Territory government stakeholders.  Where NAIF financing will be greater than $250 million, NAIF will consult with Infrastructure Australia.
  • Information provided by you to NAIF during this phase (including Public Benefit assessment and Indigenous Engagement Strategy)will form the basis for you to submit a formal Investment Proposal.
  • Once the detailed assessment of all these requirements is complete, an Investment Decision is sought from NAIF’s Board.

* In addition to satisfying the NAIF mandatory criteria and other legislative requirements, some projects will need to comply with the Commonwealth’s Australian Industry Participation Plan Policy (this requirement applies to NAIF loans of $20m or more. See the User Guide for Australian Industry Participation plans) and with the Commonwealth’s Work Health and Safety Accreditation Scheme where applicable.


  • If the NAIF Board makes an Investment Decision to offer finance, the responsible Commonwealth Minister has a consideration period during which the Minister may veto the project (on specific grounds specified in the NAIF Act).
  • For projects that will be financed via a State or Territorythe relevant Government must confirm its support. 
  • The negotiation and execution of legal documentation and the satisfaction of any conditions to the NAIF financing is required before a project can receive NAIF funding.