I am delighted with the Federal Government’s decision to amend the North Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) lending mandate to make it easier for northern projects to get off the ground.
Minister for Northern Australia Matt Canavan has had wide consultations with those in the industry and with northern Coalition Parliamentarians about some of the problems being experienced by the restrictive rules for NAIF.
No longer will it be necessary for the proponent to provide one half of the finance and in some circumstances the NAIF will be able to lend up to 100 per cent of the finance needed.
There will no longer be a need to prove that other finance was not available and the non-binding cap of $50 million will be scrapped.
In addition, there will be a change of definition of what constitutes an infrastructure project which will broaden the scope of investments which can be made.
I am confident that many of the projects currently under consideration by the Board of NAIF will quickly be given the tick of approval once these changes are made.
I am delighted at this announcement which I have been calling for for some time as it will mean that real money can flow to projects in the North.
Sadly, the Queensland Government seems to be doing everything in its power to stop any development in North Queensland. I am told by the Minister that the Queensland Government has not made one application to NAIF in spite of there being many state controlled projects that could be eligible, even under the old rules.
The Queensland Government has control over much of the State’s infrastructure and many government business authorities but seems determined not to do anything that would help Northern Australia.
I can only assume that their ideological hatred of the Federal Government whose initiative NAIF is has blinded the Queensland Government to the real interests of the people of Northern Australia.