North­ern loan fa­cil­ity de­layed

Call for de­tail on $ 5b fund

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TONY RAGGATT tony. raggatt@ news. com. au

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.

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