Questions without notice – Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Mr GOSLING: My question is to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister confirm that of the $5 billion the government announced would be spent on the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility in 2015 only 3c in every dollar announced have been delivered nearly five years later?

Mr PITT: I thank the honourable member for that question. It’s fantastic to get a question on northern Australia and our northern Australia agenda. I can confirm for the member that the NAIF has made investment decisions for some $2.4 billion of the $5 billion allocated to the NAIF. But it’s not just about the NAIF. This is about our agenda for the north, delivering for the people of the north and providing jobs for the people of the north. Once again, those opposite simply don’t understand business. Is the member suggesting a project proponent should draw down on a loan at a time they don’t need it, pay interest rates at a time they don’t need it and pay extra costs at a time they don’t need it? We have committed through the NAIF $2.4 billion in investment decisions. We will continue to deliver.

In fact, in the Northern Territory just recently Humpty Doo Barramundi, the famous fighting barramundi of the Northern Territory, received another commitment from the NAIF, a second loan. That means more jobs in the Territory, more opportunities for the Territory and more opportunities for the north.

It is not just about the NAIF. We continue to deliver on roads. We continue to deliver on gas—

The SPEAKER: No. I remind the minister the question was specifically about that one subject.

Mr PITT: I’m very happy to continue to talk about the NAIF and those investment decisions that have been made. In the Northern Territory, Merricks Capital has got a $37 million loan. The Northern Territory government’s ship lift has got a $300 million loan. Verdant Minerals, for a phosphate mine, has got a $160 million loan. Northern Territory airport has got $150 million. As I said, the Humpty Doo Barramundi farm, another family business that is going crackingly well, has got $24 million in loans from the NAIF. That will continue to drive jobs.

The SPEAKER: The member for Solomon on a point of order?

Mr Gosling: It is on relevance. The question went to how much has been spent out of $5 billion.

The SPEAKER: The minister’s being entirely relevant to the question.

Mr PITT: I was actually talking about those commitments in the Northern Territory. I thought the member would actually be interested.

But if we move across the north to North Queensland—and I know the Prime Minister’s interested in this one—the North Queensland Cowboys have got $20 million towards their centre of excellence. I was there just a few weeks ago. The construction’s underway. It’s getting close to completion. It will deliver a centre for the people of the north. There is no reason you can’t be educated and trained in the north to the same level as other places. That’s what we’re delivering. We will continue to provide these facilities, jobs in the north and opportunities for the north, and we will get on with the job.

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