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 a NAIF loan, 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.

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.  Once this assessment is complete we will seek approval from the NAIF Board, through the preparation and presentation of a Strategic Assessment Paper (“SAP”), to progress our review of the project to the detailed review phase.  The strategic assessment considerations  include:
    • The capabilities and track record of the proponent, sponsors, management and financial consultants, as well as proposed design, engineering and construction consultants.
    • That the project involves construction or enhancement of infrastructure, located 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 that credible co-financiers have been identified.
    • That there is a sufficiently developed viable business case which enables financial close to occur within a reasonable time.
    • The strategy to achieve revenue certainty (such as via offtake agreements) and realistic operating cost forecasts, in support of debt repayment.
    • The project’s executability, including strategy to achieve close in a reasonable timeframe.
    • The strategy demonstrating that environmental and social risks will be mitigated: 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 indicate whether the NAIF eligibility criteria will be met, nor is it an endorsement of any specific terms or conditions.

If NAIF decides to continue to the next phase, relevant government stakeholders (Commonwealth, State and Territory) will be 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 (see here).
  • We will work collaboratively with you and any co-financiers to develop appropriate NAIF loan terms and conditions, noting that the level of concessions provided by NAIF is to be the minimum required for the project to proceed.
  • We must assess whether the proposed transaction satisfies all the requirements of the NAIF Act and Investment Mandate. See here. *
  • We will also consult with relevant Commonwealth, State and Territory government stakeholders.  Where a NAIF loan would be greater than $100 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 the NAIF Board.

* In addition to satisfying the NAIF mandatory criteria and other legislative requirements, before we can provide NAIF funding for a project, all projects must be in compliance with all relevant Commonwealth, State and Territory laws.   Projects must comply with the Commonwealth’s Australian Industry Participation Plan Policy (this requirement applies to NAIF loans of $20m or more. See here)  and with the Commonwealth’s Work Health and Safety Accreditation Scheme where applicable.


  • If the NAIF Board makes an Investment Decision to offer finance, both the responsible Commonwealth Minister and the relevant State or Territory Government must confirm their support (non veto).
  • The negotiation and execution of legal documentation and the satisfaction of any conditions to the NAIF loan are required before a project can receive NAIF funding.
  • NAIF will not proceed with its assessment of a transaction or with making an Investment Decision if the relevant State or Territory Government provides written notification that financial assistance should not be provided to the project or if the responsible Commonwealth Minister determines that financial assistance should not be provided.