Ship-lift relocation to East Arm

Taken from NT News- ‘If it comes off it will be massive for Darwin’.

DARWIN’S shiplift facility is set to become a reality with the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility set to sign off on a funding deal for the $400 million project.

It’s understood a deal to finance the project could be signed within weeks.

“I’d just say watch this space,” Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan said during a visit to Darwin at the weekend.

“I think things are going very well on that project, the dotted line is not signed yet but I’ve had very good discussions with (Chief Minister) Michael Gunner in the last couple of months as well as with the NAIF and I’m hopeful we might get somewhere very soon.”

Senator Canavan said the shiplift project, combined with an upgrade of the Darwin Port, could see Darwin become the nation’s manufacturing hub.

“I’m hopeful, without trying to pre-empt it, and I’m also hopeful that this ship-lift and the development of the Darwin Port is also very important for the longer term vision to develop Darwin as the manufacturing hub of our nation, I think that’s a distinct possibility with the Beetaloo Basin,” he said.

Earlier this month Perth-based company Coogee signalled its plans to build a methanol plant in Darwin so it could access cheaper gas. If it goes ahead that project would create 1000 jobs during construction with another 350 permanent roles.

“There are other companies that are interested, we’ve got a real opportunity there with a world-class shiplift and a broader port development to attract that business,” Senator Canavan said.

Last month Mr Gunner announced the cash-strapped NT Government would fund the $400 million project itself if it couldn’t secure federal government funding or a loan from the NAIF.

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