Northern loan facility delayed
Call for detail on $ 5b fund
LABOR has called on the Government to explain a delay and lack of detail surrounding its $ 5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility announced in May.
However a spokesman for the federal treasury says expressions of interest are already being taken and detailed draft criteria are anticipated to be released next month.
The loan facility is a key plank in the Coalition’s Northern Australia development push.
Labor’s Northern Australia spokesman, West Australian MP Gary Gray, said the Government had not released eligibility criteria for its $ 5 billion concessional infrastructure loan facility despite promising project proposals would be ac- cepted from July 1. “The Government needs to explain the delay and the lack of detail around the governance structures for its big- ticket $ 5 billion loan facility,” Mr Gray said.
“Even the geographic eligibility criteria are up in the air with uncertainty around what is meant by Northern Australia.”
The treasury spokesman said parties were welcome to register their interest and make a submission.
“Broad principles of eligibility are already on the ( Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility) website to give people guidance,” the spokesman said.
The facility is aimed at major economic infrastructure that will increase the productive capacity of northern Australia.
Only proposals that are financially viable and capable of repaying a concessional loan will be considered.
Also, projects that are com- mercially viable without Commonwealth assistance will not be considered and proposed projects must have other funding sources.
Port of Townsville chairman Pat Brady confirmed the port was interested in the loan facility for projects including berth upgrades and its port expansion development proposal.
While the port would support the development of a new rail corridor into the facility, Mr Brady said Queensland Rail rather than the port would likely be the lead proponent for that project.
“We need to look at how we source funding moving into the future,” Mr Brady said.
“( The federal loan facility) is a good opportunity and we are keen to see the detail.”
The treasury spokesman said they were consulting with state and territory governments and anticipated releasing draft detailed criteria for public consultation in August.