UNDER FIRE: NAIF board members earning $500K+
LABOR party shadow minister Jason Clare has hit out at the pay packets of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) Board, but Minister Matt Canavan says they're spending responsibly with projects on the way.
The Shadow Minister For Resources And Northern Australia, and Member For Blaxland (located 70kms west of Sydney), said the board's seven members were earning more than half a million dollars a year despite only meeting a total of four times since NAIF was first announced two years ago.
He said the $5 billion NAIF had failed to provide a single cent to job-delivering infrastructure projects in the north, while the NAIF board chair was landing a bonus of $34,000 a year.
"The NAIF has committed more money to executive salaries than it has on job generating infrastructure," Mr Clare said.
But Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said there were four projects currently going through the final "checks and balances".
"The $5 billion NAIF is tapping into the enormous appetite for large-scale investment in Northern Australia," Mr Canavan said.
"There have been around 100 project inquiries to the NAIF and 47 are being actively considered. Of those, four projects are in the due diligence phase, which means final checks and balances are underway.
"This is a large chunk of taxpayers' money and we are making sure it's spent responsibly."
Mr Canavan also cited comments from Labor Shadow Minister Terri Butler in late 2016, suggesting funding for the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility should go to cross-river rail rather than a rail line to Abbot Point.
"How can Labor claim to support Northern Australia, while trying to divert funding towards Brisbane?," Mr Canavan said.