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Govt rejects Senate Inquiry recommendations to improve transparency in operation of Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF)

The Australian Government has rejected key recommendations of the Senate Inquiry into the governance and operation of the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) aimed at improving transparency and avoiding conflicts of interest.

Greens Co-deputy leader and Senator for Queensland Larissa Waters said the Morrison Government had rejected the evidence in favour of continuing with a politically motived waste of taxpayers’ money designed to funnel community resources into projects like Adani.

“The report out today shows Northern Australians have yet again been sold out by the Australian Government that is more interested in propping up the struggling Nationals than being transparent about investment in the north,” she said.

“The Senate Inquiry report found the NAIF's assessment criteria are not transparent, assessment processes are inconsistent, and the CEO has too much power. Yet, the Government has rejected key recommendations for improving NAIF’s accountability.

“You can’t hand out billions in taxpayer dollars without the appropriate checks and balances, including reporting on any conflicts of interest for board members and making public suitable detail on successful projects and proponents.

“The Greens recommended acknowledging the climate crisis and Australia’s commitment to the Paris Agreement by prohibiting NAIF investment in infrastructure supporting the transport or burning of thermal coal or gas.

“The reality of the climate crisis has been rejected by the Government which receives substantial donations from the fossil fuel industry and then expects taxpayers to prop up their climate-wrecking projects, despite global warming and declining global coal outlooks.

“The Government’s support for handing over community funds will continue even when coal companies like Adani are exposed as poor corporate citizens and would fail a “suitable person test” for receiving investment.

“NAIF is operating in a secretive and underhanded way, it should be made more accountable and used to fund community infrastructure that supports regions and improves our environmental health,” Senator Waters said.

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