Federal Labor has announced plans to replace the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) with a new fund to help build 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, the ALP says.
“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,” Opposition leader Bill Shorten said in a joint statement with other ALP politicians.
“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.”
The statement said the reforms would include:
- Allocating $1 billion from the Northern Australia Development Fund to tourism projects in the north.
- Appointing First Nations people to the new board of the Northern Australia Development Fund.
- Publicly releasing the First Nations job and procurement plans of all funded projects.
- Establishing an MOU with Indigenous Business Australia to provide additional financial support to First Nations-led business in the north.
- Establishing 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 would honour existing projects and keep the funding allocation to the existing NAIF of $5 billion, Mr Shorten said.