Fund ‘ will deliver’ NAIF a game changer for Townsville and North, says director
NORTH Queensland’s only member on the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility board has given a rare insight into its workings, with the former mayor confident the fund will get projects off the ground.
Bill Shannon, who was the Cassowary Coast Regional Council mayor for eight years until 2015, was appointed to the NAIF board last year.
Mr Shannon said the North’s tourism and agricultural sectors were set to flourish in years to come.
“I do believe North Queensland has a lot of potential,” he said.
Mr Shannon said he could not comment on individual projects which had requested concessional loans through the $ 5 billion facility, such as Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.
However, he said that “without a doubt” he was confident that NAIF could get major projects off the ground.
“I am very confident that it will be a game- changer for Northern Australia,” he said.
“T h e NAIF has a life of five years and if it’s successful, which I think it will be, I would like to think that it would be ongoing. Big projects attract other investment.”
Mr Shannon, who operates a cane and cattle property with his wife Suzanne at Bilyana, south of Tully, said he was pleased when the Federal Government approached him to take part on the board.
“The amount of time I put into it is several hours per week and even when there are no meetings on at all there is lots of correspondence,” he said.
“I’m not going to say NAIF is the silver bullet but what’s really interesting is NAIF just isn’t there to fund flash facilities for Northern Australia.
“The interesting thing about the board is that it’s very confident and high powered – we don’t take instruction from government. There is no influence on us whatsoever.”
Mr Shannon said the Townsville region’s future was looking “extremely positive”.
“( I’ve been) talking to business leaders, ( the) ports corporation, council and the airport,” he said. “There’s a lot of interest in getting things done in Townsville.
“The resources that we’ve got are quite extraordinary.
“We’ve got to be careful we don’t destroy why people love it here, like the environment.
“And we have to give indigenous people meaningful employment. ( There is) the chance to use the significant parcels of land and getting land tenure better sorted which is an advantage for indigenous people.”
TOWNSVILLE BOOST: OneSteel NQ trading manager Glenn Scoble.