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Budget 2018: NAIF: a not so happy birthday



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JASON CLARE MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INVESTMENT SHADOW MINISTER FOR RESOURCES AND NORTHERN AUSTRALIA MEMBER FOR BLAXLAND

NAIF: A NOT SO HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Tomorrow Turnbull’s disappointing $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) turns three - and it’s a not so happy birthday.

Turnbull is rushing to deliver his $80 billion tax cuts for big business and big banks - but he's on a go-slow when it comes to investing in infrastructure for Northern Australia.

There was no new money in his unfair budget for infrastructure for regional Queensland and three years later not one cent has been spent from the NAIF in Queensland or the Northern Territory.

The NAIF was first announced three years ago. We've had three wasted years. Three years of missed opportunity, three years where the NAIF could have been creating jobs and building infrastructure right across Northern Australia.

Since then it has only invested $16 million - less than half a per cent - of the $5 billion fund on one project in Western Australia. At this rate it would take Turnbull more than 943 years to invest the $5 billion. If this failure wasn’t so serious it would be laughable.

Regional Queensland has been sold a dud. Right now there are more than 40,000 unemployed people in Central and North Queensland.

Labor wants to see the NAIF succeed. We want investment in infrastructure and we want jobs for Central and North Queensland.

Since it launched the NAIF has been plagued by issues, which has prompted Labor to launch a Senate Inquiry. These issues include:  Failure to create jobs and invest in infrastructure,  Unexplained conflicts of interest held by NAIF board members,

 Issues with a lack of transparency and a refusal to respond to FOIs,  Poor governance measures,  Only a third of NAIF staff are actually based in Northern Australia.

Just last month Turnbull admitted the NAIF had failed when the Government made changes to the NAIF’s investment Mandate.

Quotes from the Turnbull Government:

“the time for talk is over, and the time for action is here.” Matthew Canavan, Minister for Northern Australia during his speech at the NAIF launch.

I am hopeful that we will have projects funded very shortly. Matt Canavan - ABC Rural - 30 September 2016

The commitment to Northern Australia from our national economic plan is enormous. We have a $5 billion, Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund that will be providing loans across Northern Australia. Malcolm Turnbull— Interview on ABC Far North Qld —18 May 2016

Well our focus is on jobs, jobs and growth and particularly in Northern Australia. As you know, we have massive investment in the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund. Malcolm Turnbull— Interview on ABC Far North Queensland - 22 June 2016

“I just want to make sure we start rolling the money out and that’s what I’m concentrating on at the moment. I’m very open about that. I’ve had that discussion with their board.”

Barnaby Joyce as Minister for Northern Australia - ABC Darwin - 1 September 2017

FRIDAY, 11 MAY 2018

MEDIA CONTACT: BENJAMIN GRANGER 0431 169 554

Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra