Take off for airport upgrades across the NT

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) today announced financial close has been reached on a loan to help expand facilities at three Northern Territory airports.

NAIF has agreed to provide up to $150m towards a range of upgrades at Darwin, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek airports, supporting the development of the Territory’s export potential, particularly for agricultural products.

The signing of the facility agreement between Northern Territory Airports Pty Ltd and the Northern Territory Government means construction on the following infrastructure can gather pace:

  • A freight and cold storage hub at Darwin International Airport.
  • Solar arrays at Darwin, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek airports servicing local communities and the airports.
  • A proposed off airport multi-user battery storage in Darwin.
  • Installation of new runway lighting and overall upgrades across three airports.

The project investments will increase the operational capacity of each airport, create jobs, drive new export opportunities into Asian markets, boost the Northern Territory’s tourism potential and support energy security for businesses and residents in the north.

Across the three airports, the $300 million project is forecast to create 980 construction, 142 operational and 500 indirect/supply chain jobs. Up to $127m in public benefit is forecast to be generated over the next 20 years.

The reaching of financial close was marked today at Darwin Airport where civil works on the freight and cold-storage hub are now underway. Minister for Northern Australia, Senator Matthew Canavan, and Senator Sam McMahon joined Northern Territory Airports officials for the ceremony.

Work on the cold storage hub at Darwin Airport is expected to be completed by August 2020 and will include a vapour heat treatment (VHT) plant that would create opportunities to export mangoes and other fresh produce to Asian markets, offering opportunities for NT businesses.


The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) is a Commonwealth Government $5bn lending facility to finance projects via the governments of the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia to achieve growth in the economies and populations of northern Australia and encourage and complement private sector investment in northern Australia.

Projects supported by NAIF are diversified across sectors including ports, airports, tourism, education, agriculture, resources and renewable energy.

NAIF has made $1.4bn in investment decisions and conditional approvals for projects across Northern Australia as a whole, supporting projects forecast to create more than 4,000 jobs and more than $2.9bn in public benefit.  Every NAIF project will support important Indigenous engagement with many projects committing to Indigenous employment or procurement targets.

NAIF investment decisions by jurisdiction:

  • $781m for Queensland across four projects,
  • $345m for the Northern Territory across four projects including the current conditional approval; and
  • $288m for Western Australia, across five projects, excluding the Pilbara Minerals Investment Decision which will not proceed to financial close in its current form.


NAIF projects in the Northern Territory (as at 1 November 2019)
Northern Territory Airports Airports (freight, transport, energy and solar) $150m Up to $127m over 20 years including enabling growth in tourist numbers as well as to be able to export more NT fresh agriculture and aquaculture.  980 jobs in construction and supporting 500 indirect jobs through supply chain with 142 new ongoing positions.
Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia Connellan Airport improvements. Upgrade and resurface of runway, taxiway and apron. Installation of runway lighting. $27.5m Greater than $370m over 20 years including increased employment and increased tourism generating economic growth. 80 construction jobs and a further 320 jobs supported by the airports continued operations.
Humpty Doo Barramundi Farm Aquaculture – farming operations, fish nursery and feeding systems $7.18m, with potential up to $30m over three stages Help grow the NT aquaculture industry through supply of fingerlings and future multi-user processing capacity. Employment of up to 50 jobs (once the 3 stages are complete). Stage one includes 13 construction and 7 ongoing jobs.
Verdant Minerals,

(Ammaroo Phosphate Project) (Conditional Approval)

Open cut mine and associated infrastructure, accommodation, rail spur and pipeline $160m Cost benefit analysis to be finalised. Employment opportunities expected to include 300 direct jobs in construction and 150 in operations.


Senator Canavan making the announcement

Minister for Northern Australia, Senator Matthew Canavan, and Senator Sam McMahon joined Northern Territory Airports officials for the ceremony.