Wednesday, 12 May 2021
Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Amendment (Extension and Other Measures) Bill 2021; Reference to Committee
That the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Amendment (Extension and Other Measures) Bill 2021 be referred to the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 15 June 2021.
The statutory review of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility informs the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Amendment (Extension and Other Measures) Bill 2021. More than 122 face-to-face meetings were conducted across nine locations in the north, and engagement with over 100 different entities occurred during the review from July 2019 until late 2020. The Select Committee on the effectiveness of the Australian Government's Northern Australia agenda then also extensively considered the NAIF reforms and recommended this legislation, which gives effect to the reforms recommended by the review, be passed by the parliament as a priority. A further committee inquiry is unnecessary.
The opposition will be opposing this motion moved by Senator Waters to send the bill to the committee. The NAIF is due to cease operations on 31 June this year. To delay the passing of this bill would jeopardise the NAIF extension and therefore risk the remaining $2.2 billion in funding which the NAIF is still to allocate to projects in northern Australia. To allow this to happen would be reckless. Communities and businesses in northern Australia deserve the opportunity to put their hand up for those remaining funds, and Labor won't stand in their way. We support the NAIF and we support the extension.