The Greens say a Senate Committee report released today has vindicated their concerns about the operation of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.
“The Greens launched this inquiry because of concerns about how $5 billion of public funds is being spent.
“Today is a vindication. The report is damning”, says Queensland Greens Senator and spokesperson for the Environment, Andrew Bartlett.
“The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility is unaccountable. The way it’s administered is as clear as mud.
“It’s even behind on its own targets.
“The report confirms the board lacks expertise which is unsurprising given the criteria for selection seems to have been ‘mates with Matt Canavan’ or ‘links to the mining industry’.
“This is public money, not the government’s, and certainly not mining companies’.
“The way it is spent should be subject to the highest standards of accountability and transparency.
“Both the NAIF and the Coalition have refused to answer questions about who has applied to the NAIF, how decisions are made and what the loan conditions are to access public funds.
“It’s difficult not to conclude that the NAIF is really just a slush fund for the fossil fuel industry that bankrolls the Coalition.
“Sharing ministerial oversight, as the report recommends, won’t be enough to stop cheerleaders for coal in the Coalition trying to siphon off funds to the mining industry.
“Tourism forms a large part of the economy in Northern Australia. Instead of kickbacks to mining companies we should, as the report recommends, invest in the job rich tourism industry.
“The Greens have proposed additional recommendations to prohibit the NAIF from financing projects that extract, use or transport thermal coal and gas.
“The Greens also want a suitable persons test, to make sure public funds are not used to finance projects run by known environment vandals or corporations linked to corruption or with records of financial mismanagement.
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