Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund and Humpty Doo Barramundi

Matt Canavan standing with a barramundi fish.

On Wednesday 16 May 2018, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, the Hon Matt Canavan announced Humpty Doo Barramundi  was the first Northern Territory recipient of a Northern Australia Infrasturcture Fund (NAIF) loan. 

An exciting program to develop the Northern Territory’s barramundi aquaculture industry is being made possible through the $28.7 million loan from NAIF over the next five years. Humpty Doo Barramundi will match the NAIF loan with funding from external sources with their own $28.9 million investment over the five years in a three stage project to expand its facilities, introduce solar power generation, improve aquaculture practices and increase production.

Assistance through the NAIF loan will enable Humpty Doo Barramundi to remain a family-owned farm, without the need for private equity or foreign investment.

The first stage of the project totalling $14.4 million will be co-funded between NAIF and the ANZ bank. 

The project is staged to be delivered over five years from mid 2018 to 2022 and will achieve several firsts for the local aquaculture industry.

The first stage of the project includes:

  • building a solar generation facility to initially generate two megawatts of electricity to reduce reliance on natural gas generated electricity
  • developing a specialised barramundi nursery to reduce bird predation and grow smaller farm-ready fish for other aquaculture farms for the first time in the Territory
  • introduce the Territory’s first automatic feed storage and distribution facility to protect feed from feral animals based on internationally recognised aquaculture technology.
  • Ice making facility for product quality.

Owner and General Manager of Operations Dan Richards said the NAIF loan acknowledged the importance of expanding the aquaculture industry in northern Australia and its potential to become the leading supplier of premium saltwater barramundi.

“The NAIF loan and our own investment will benefit the wider community, allowing us in time to open opportunities to others in the region that want to venture into aquaculture,” Dan Richards said.  “Overall the opportunity will ensure all Australians and the world in general, have access to Australian grown seafood every day.”  

Owner and Managing Director Bob Richards said he was pleased the farm could now invest in solar powerand infrastructure that will move the farm towards becoming carbon neutral, while enhancing the Humpty Doo Barramundi’s position as a leader in sustainable Australian aquaculture.

“We have invested a lot in developing a premium saltwater barramundi that contributes $10 million to the Territory economy and can be found on the menus of restaurants across Australia and the world,” Bob Richards said.

The three stage project supported by the NAIF loan will:

  • expand the Australian grown barramundi aquaculture industry, helping to make Australia self-sufficient in barramundi supply and reduce the need to import barramundi and the associated biosecurity risks into Australia – currently, around 60 per cent of ‘barramundi’ consumed in Australia is imported
  • enable Humpty Doo Barramundi to create skills training and employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians and enterprises in line with its Indigenous Engagement Strategy
  • provide the opportunity for Australian-grown barramundi to be recognised as Australia’s premium white fish
  • enable the Northern Territory to become the main supplier of 100 per cent Australian-grown barramundi
  • improve Humpty Doo Barramundi’s already impressive sustainability credentials with the move to day time carbon neutral operations by developing a four megawatt solar farm.

Humpty Doo Barramundi currently employs over 50 staff to operate the farm, with a further estimated 150 people in supporting industries such as freight, trades and heavy machinery.

The aquaculture farm is owned and operated by the Richards family, a 5th generation Territory family. The family is passionate about providing beautiful Australian food and jobs in the Territory, and has long supported the Australian seafood and aquaculture industries locally and nationally for more than 25 years.