Australian first sustainability linked-loan helps North Queensland environment

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NAB has helped North Queensland Airports (NQA), arrange an Australian first sustainability-linked loan that addresses climate change, helps protect its natural biodiversity and increase the employment of Australia’s First peoples.

The sustainability-linked loan will allow NQA, which includes both Cairns Airport and Mackay Airport, to align its environmental priorities to its financing, with financial implications based on achieving or missing key goals.

NQA will work closely with the Dawul Wuru Aboriginal Corporation to maintain and improve key habitats within Cairns Airport, to help protect biodiversity and for better carbon sequestration and climate change adaptation outcomes.

Other initiatives linked to the agreement include the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to Net Zero by 2025 (Scope 1 and 2), transitioning to 100% renewable energy, and supporting First Nations peoples through an increase in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees at the airports, as well as by prioritising procurement from contactors with a defined percentage of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander employees.

NAB Group Executive, Corporate and Institutional Bank, David Gall said NAB was proud to support NQA to establish this ambitious and innovative Sustainability Linked Loan.

“The opportunities are significant for the North Queensland community, with its airport now setting unique sustainability targets aimed to create meaningful change in the areas of emissions reductions, biodiversity and indigenous engagement,” he said.

“We congratulate NQA for being the first organisation in Australia to set these targets that helps address climate change, restore natural habitat and provide meaningful employment for First Nations peoples in Cairns and Mackay.”

North Queensland Airports Chief Executive Officer Richard Barker said Cairns is the only place in the world where two natural UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites sit side-by-side; the Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef.

“The natural environment is one of this region’s greatest assets. Cairns Airport landholdings includes a significant amount of the region’s intact coastal forests, with potential to be a stronghold for threatened species in the region. We are seeking to enhance the habitat of at least three threatened species here, in partnership with the Dawul Wuru Aboriginal Corporation’s Yirrganydji Land and Sea Ranger program,” Mr Barker said.

The biodiversity target in the agreement is understood to be the only one of its kind in Australia and is similar only to a couple of others around the world.

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