13 May 2021: The Morrison Government’s amendments to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) have passed the Senate and signal more money for damaging gas projects according to climate action group 350 Australia.
The Morrison Government’s amendments to the NAIF will see the Department Secretary placed on the NAIF board, mean that projects don’t have to be located in Northern Australia and provide the option of cutting out state and territory governments. The Government’s Beetaloo Strategic Basin Plan has stated the changes to the NAIF will provide opportunities to support Beetaloo Basin gas infrastructure developments.
350 Australia Senior Campaigner Shani Tager said: “The Morrison Government’s changes to the NAIF are designed to give more money to gas companies instead of building projects that will benefit northern Australia communities.
“Minister Pitt vetoed NAIF funding for a wind and battery project that would have brought 250 jobs to north Queensland and made it clear that he wants NAIF to be funding gas infrastructure.
“Keith Pitt can’t be trusted when it comes to spending public money and now he’s given himself even more power to fund damaging gas projects with the public dollar.
“The Morrison government is stuck in the last century, determined to give money to big gas companies instead of supporting clean, renewable energy projects.
“Countries like the UK and the USA are stopping public financing to the fossil fuel industry while Keith Pitt and Scott Morrison are throwing money at the polluting gas industry.
A number of amendments were rejected by the Government including ones put forward by Labor to ensure funding helped achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and by the Greens to end funding for fossil fuel projects.
“Sensible amendments to prevent the NAIF from funding fossil fuel projects were rejected by the Government, showing once again that they’re not interested in taking action on climate.
“The Prime Minister has said they support getting to net zero emissions as soon as possible but today his government voted against amendments that would help see that happen,” said Ms Tager.
The changes to the NAIF act will:
Extend the life of the NAIF for 5 years;
Add the Secretary of the Department to the NAIF Board;
Allow NAIF to loan directly to entities, bypassing state and territory governments;
Increase the risk appetite by allowing equity investments and acquisitions of derivatives;
Remove the mandatory requirement for infrastructure to stimulate population growth in Northern Australia.