Backing jobs and exports in north Queensland

26 February 2021

The Hon Keith Pitt MP, Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, joint media release with Assistant Minister for Northern Australia Michelle Landry, and Senator for Queensland Susan McDonald.

The Coalition Government is backing the expansion of a fertiliser company in north Queensland to help grow its exports and create jobs for current and future generations.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) has now approved a $71 million loan to Agripower Australia Ltd, to upgrade infrastructure and improve access to its mine site near Greenvale, and its processing plant near Charters Towers.

“This expansion would help Agripower deliver regional economic benefits, and is forecast to support around 345 jobs during construction and 171 ongoing jobs when completed,” Minister Pitt said.

“Agripower produces a range of natural silicon fertilisers for agriculture and horticulture use, and believes its mine could remain productive for 200 years.

“That means the project has the potential to generate real jobs and opportunities for generations to come, while injecting much-needed income into north Queensland as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Assistant Minister for Northern Australia Michelle Landry said the expansion includes a multi-user rail line, water pipeline and sealing of a public road to help improve access to Agripower’s facilities.

“The Agripower expansion projects will deliver jobs to north Queensland and is forecast to inject around $256 million into the region’s economy over 20 years,” Assistant Minister Landry said.

“Significantly, the investment decision means NAIF has now offered around $1 billion in funding to 10 projects in Queensland’s north, ensuring northern Queensland remains a great place to live, work and invest.”

Senator for Queensland Susan McDonald said new rules making it easier for NAIF to grant loans would result in similar job creation and economic benefits across the North.

“Anyone looking to invest in Northern Australia will take heart from Agripower’s example and I expect to see a surge in business activity powered by NAIF, especially after the new NAIF guidelines are passed by Parliament,” she said.

“This sends the message that NAIF is helping make North Queensland an exciting place to live and work, to raise families and do business.

“The region’s proximity to South East Asia and easy port access at Townsville should be a magnet for more businesses to make use of NAIF’s finance.”

Minister Pitt also introduced a series of NAIF reforms into Parliament this week, designed to extend its mandate for five more years until mid-2026, and expanding the range of projects eligible for NAIF support.

Media contacts:

Minister Pitt’s office – 02 6277 7180

Minister Landry’s office – 02 6277 4283

Senator McDonald’s office – 02 6277 3635

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