Five years on, NAIF delivers just 1.4pc of its promise to Queensland

NAIF boss pressed on lack of funding to QLD projects

Politics
Minister for Northern Australia Keith Pitt vetoed a $380 million Kaban wind farm that was expected create 150 jobs for the region.

Minister for Northern Australia Keith Pitt vetoed a $380 million Kaban wind farm that was expected create 150 jobs for the region.

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The NAIF board initially recommended a loan of $280m to energy developer Neoen Energy to build the project near Ravenshoe, before Senator for Northern Australia Keith Pitt used his ministerial powers to veto the loan.

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Labor has accused the federal government of drastically underdelivering on it's Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) commitments - leaving Queensland in particular behind after blocking the construction of a $380million Kaban wind farm project.

The NAIF board initially recommended a loan of $280m to energy developer Neoen Energy to build the project near Ravenshoe, before Senator for Northern Australia Keith Pitt used his ministerial powers to veto the loan.

The wind farm was expected to provide power 95,900 homes and generate more than 150 jobs for the region.

The opposition's shadow minister for Northern Australia Senator Murray Watt pressed NAIF's chief executive Chris Wade during senate estimates.

Mr Wade said that only 6 per cent of the promised $5 billion funding has been spent since the Commonwealth announced the program in 2015.

Since the launch in 2015, a total of only $70.2 million had been released in Queensland - the lowest of any Northern state with just 1.4pc of total funding spent.

Senator Watt said that it's current pace, NAIF will never deliver modern infrastructure to northern Australia.

"At the current rate it will take 73 years for all of the NAIF funding to be rolled out," the shadow minister for northern Australia said.

"It's a direct result of this snail's pace rollout, that has forced the Morrison Government to scramble to extend the scheme deadline, in a bid to get more money out the door.

"The NAIF should play a key role in rebuilding the Northern Australia economy following COVID-19 by supporting job-creating projects across the region."

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