The Australian Greens support the majority report and all of the
recommendations of the Senate Standing Committee on Economics inquiry into the
governance and operation of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility
The Australian Greens encourage the NAIF to engage far more
comprehensively with communities in Northern Australia and to consider
supporting approaches to the development of Northern Australia beyond the
traditional and often outdated and unsustainable suggestions of mines and dams.
The suggestions provided by the Environment Centre NT in their response to a
question taken on notice at the Committee's Darwin hearing give good examples
of alternative approaches which can provide more sustainable long-term benefits
to communities in Northern Australia.
While the Australian Greens recognise that the NAIF is not directly
responsible for environmental assessment and approvals, the current reality is
that our federal and state environment laws are inadequate and need significant
and urgent reform. As such the NAIF should be required to give some degree of
consideration of the potential environmental and climate impact of any project
as part of assessing its suitability for investment.
The Australian Greens note the large number of submissions that raised
concerns regarding the possibility of the NAIF providing funding to the Adani
Group for the North Galilee Basin Rail Project. This example provides good
grounds for requiring the NAIF to include a suitable person test as part of its
This could be done via means such as those outlined in the Environment
and Infrastructure Legislation Amendment (Stop Adani) Bill 2017 introduced by
former Senator Larissa Waters. This Bill is currently before the Senate, and
requires the NAIF to assess whether an entity is a suitable person for the
purposes of providing financial assistance for Northern Australia economic
infrastructure; and provides that in undertaking an assessment, the facility
consults with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the
Australian Crime Commission.
The Australian Greens share the concern raised in several submissions
that public comments of support for the Adani Carmichael mine project by
current and former government ministers, including the minister responsible for
the NAIF, Senator Canavan, has the potential to prejudice the decisions of the
NAIF and place unreasonable political pressure on their assessment process.
The NAIF must consider the Australian government's policy commitment to
the Paris Agreement, both its current domestic pledges and international goals
under that agreement. As such, the NAIF should be prohibited from financing
infrastructure primarily to be used to extract, refine, transport or burn
thermal coal or gas, as recommended by The Australia Institute in its
The Australian Greens, while supportive of Recommendation 4, consider
that it would be appropriate to specify that the expanded eligibility criteria
for the NAIF board include expertise from the environmental or climate
That the Environment and Infrastructure Legislation Amendment (Stop
Adani) Bill 2017 be passed by the Parliament so that a suitable person test is
added to the NAIFs consideration of a project.
That the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Act 2016 be amended
to require NAIF to consider the Australian government’s policy commitment to
the Paris Agreement, the climate impacts of a project and to prohibit the NAIF
from financing infrastructure which would facilitate the extraction,
refinement, transportation or burning of thermal coal or gas.
Navigation: Previous Page | Contents | Next Page