Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Brittany Asks NAIF Board to Please Explain; Keppel MP Claims No Action in 800 Days

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Brittany Asks NAIF Board to Please Explain; Keppel MP Claims No Action in 800 Days

Article excerpt

Byline: Leighton Smith Leighton.Smith@capnews.com.au

AFTER 800 days of waiting since the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) had been set up, Keppel MP Brittany Lauga has demanded the Federal Government "show us the money".

She said the only money spent by the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund Board in over 12 months since the board was first appointed has been more than $500,000 in funds to pay their own salaries.

The LNP and its Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund Board has not approved any projects to be financed under the $5 billion fund specifically created for job-generating infrastructure projects like the Great Keppel Island resort, Mrs Lauga said, despite that it being over 800 days since the fund was first touted.

"I understand that Great Keppel Island's lessees Tower Holdings made an application to the federally funded NAIF more than a year ago, but there has not been one word on their multi-million dollar application to the NAIF which would help reignite the stalled Great Keppel Island resort," she said.

"The big question I ask, and everyone in northern Australia should ask is: 'what on earth are the directors of NAIF doing?'

"I'm calling on the NAIF Board to concentrate on their responsibility to finance infrastructure projects in Northern Australia, so that the jobs and investment in our region will flow," she said.

In March 2016, Mrs Lauga said she met with Tower director Terry Agnew and suggested to Tower Holdings that they apply to the NAIF.

"I understand that after our meeting and over 12 months ago now, Tower made an application to the NAIF in a bid to kickstart the GKI resort," she said.

"Over 12 months has passed since Tower made an application to the NAIF and yet we have heard nothing from the NAIF about Tower's application."

Tower had reportedly identified the cost to deliver infrastructure for the resort in the first stage was a major challenge of sourcing investment.

"I believe Tower making an application to the Federal Government's Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund could help finance the cost of delivering water, power and telecommunications infrastructure, which has to be connected to the mainland underwater for about 12 kilometres," Mrs Lauga said. …

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