Labor will replace the failed Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) with a new fund that will help build nationally important infrastructure projects like gas pipelines across Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Four years after the $5 billion NAIF was first announced by the Abbott Government, not a single cent has yet been spent in Queensland.
In four years, only $15 million has been spent by the NAIF on infrastructure projects in Northern Australia. It has spent the same on salaries of staff and board members.
It has also been revealed that half of the board members are donors to the LNP.
The NAIF has been an abject failure.
Labor’s Northern Australia Development Fund will provide a financing facility and work with infrastructure Australia to identify and support projects of national economic significance – such as gas pipelines – in Australia’s north.
As part of these changes, up to $1.5 billion will be set aside to unlock gas supply in Queensland’s Galilee and Bowen basins and connecting the Beetaloo to Darwin and the east coast. This project would support Darwin as a manufacturing and gas export powerhouse as well as increasing supply to Queensland and the eastern seaboard to put downward pressure on prices for gas users. Opening up the Beetaloo alone could provide enough gas to supply the domestic market for up to 400 years.
Two weeks ago, the Auditor-General handed down a scathing report on the failed NAIF.
Labor will take into account all of the Auditor-General’s recommendations in the design of the new fund.
As part of these reforms we will also:
- Allocate $1 billion from the Northern Australia Development Fund to tourism projects in the north.
- Appoint First Nations people to the new board of the Northern Australia Development Fund.
- Publicly release the First Nations job and procurement plans of all funded projects.
- Establish an MOU with Indigenous Business Australia to provide additional financial support to First Nations-led business in the north.
- Establish an MOU with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Energy Security Modernisation Fund (ESMF) to avoid end duplication and support cooperation between the funds.
- Labor will also honour existing projects and keep the funding allocation to the existing NAIF of $5 billion.