EXPLAINED: Why we haven't seen a cent of $5b North Aus funding
FUNDING for major infrastructure projects is a hot topic right now and its no wonder the State and Federal Governments are having a War of Words.
Yesterday, the State Government attacked the Federal Government, saying not one cent of the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) had been provided for regional Queensland in the 600 days it has been up and running.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the NAIF was in tatters with NAIF and the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.
"My Government has even stepped in to provide $15 million to fund feasibility studies for the Turnbull Government's National Water Infrastructure Development Fund," she said
"It's time the Turnbull Government got this promised funding out the door."
However, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said the hold up wasn't the government.
"People have to apply for the funding now and the board then assesses if they meet the criteria," Ms Landry said.
She pointed to the fact the board (pictured) was in the region a couple of weeks ago as part of a trip around Northern Australia looking at proposed projects.
"It's a large area to cover," Ms Landry said.
Senator Matt Canavan, who is the Northern Australia Minister, said the NAIF was tapping into the enormous appetite for large-scale investment in Northern Australia.
"There have been around 100 project inquiries to the NAIF and 47 are being actively considered," he said.
"Of those, four projects are in the due diligence phase, which means final checks and balances are underway."
Senator Canavan said if the Queensland Labor Government was serious about developing Northern Australia, it would sign off on job-creating projects that are ready to go now - like Rookwood Weir.
"The $500 million National Water Infrastructure Development Fund and the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility are not business as usual for the Federal Government," he said.
"They are the Coalition's response to the disappointing under investment by states, particularly in Queensland."
Senator Canavan said of the $60 million of funding put aside for feasibility studies and water resource assessments, $30 million has been invested in Queensland, with more than two thirds of that allocated to northern Queensland.
Ms Landry explained that it had always been the case that the State Government pays the cost of feasibility studies in the first instance and the Federal Government reimburses then.
She said the joint standing committee would be coming to the region in a few months time.