The Australian Labor Party has announced that, if elected, it will replace the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) with a new fund, aimed at increasing infrastructure projects, like gas pipelines, across Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Labor’s Northern Australia Development Fund (NADF) will provide a financing facility and work with Infrastructure Australia to identify and support projects of national economic significance — such as gas pipelines — in Australia’s north.
As part of these changes, up to $1.5 billion will be set aside to unlock gas supply in Queensland’s Galilee and Bowen basins, and to connect the Beetaloo basin to Darwin and the east coast.
This project would support Darwin as a manufacturing and gas export hub, and increase supply to Queensland and the eastern seaboard.
In early April 2019, the Auditor-General handed down a report on the NAIF, with the recommendations to be taken into account when designing the new NADF.
As part of these reforms, Labor have announced that they will also allocate $1 billion from the NADF to tourism projects in the north of Australia; appoint First Nations people to the new board; and publicly release the First Nations job and procurement plans for all funded projects. They also plan to establish a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Indigenous Business Australia to provide additional financial support to First Nations-led business in the region.
Labor have said they will honour existing projects and keep the funding allocation to the existing NAIF of $5 billion, but will establish an MOU with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Energy Security Modernisation Fund (ESMF) to avoid end duplication and support cooperation between the funds.