Investment in Northern Australia tipped to grow following recent Darwin forum
Four tropical medicine projects and up to 10 bidders for a six-star hotel to be built on our foreshore may have been uncovered at an investment forum promoting Northern Australia.
Speaking at the end of the North Australian Investment Forum, which finished in Darwin yesterday, Chief Minister Adam Giles, Federal Trade Minister Andrew Robb and Minister for Northern Australia Josh Frydenberg were all optimistic of substantial outcomes from the meeting.
“This wasn’t a forum of mickey mouse investors,” Mr Robb said. “These were investors who are looking to invest billions of dollars.
“I understand there were four deals that were not finalised, but were fairly much cemented, subject to due diligence, in the tropical medicine space. That sort of deal can take a long time to consummate.”
More than 250 investors worth an estimated $1 trillion from 20 countries were looking at 100 “ready to go” projects across Northern Australia.
Mr Robb said the $1.5 billion Sea Dragon aquaculture project had attracted investor interest despite the outputs not “touching the sides (of demand) in the region”.
“The tiger prawn project is 1600 jobs, 100 tonnes of prawns, 10,000 acres of ponds and a $1.5 billion project,” he said.
“The tonnage will be the biggest prawn operation in the world and it still doesn’t touch the sides of the region.”
There was also interest shown in the $5 billion North Australia Infrastructure Fund. Mr Frydenberg said a large scale investor raised the fund with him.
“The purpose of the concessional loan program is practical support for projects that would not otherwise be built at a particular time,” he said.
“We believe development of Northern Australia is something that provides benefits right around the country.
“A $5 billion concessional loan program will create investment and jobs in the north, in projects that will pay taxes, that will help build the roads in Melbourne or the hospitals in Sydney.”
Mr Giles said outside the forum up to 10 bidders may pursue the luxury hotel site being offered near the Deckchair Cinema.
“Specifically we’ve engaged in negotiations for a 5/6 star hotel in the Top End. It is about jobs and the future of the Northern Territory,” he said.