Home - Claire Moore - Labor Senator for Queensland

BILLS - Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Bill 2016, Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2016 - In Committee

Senator MOORE (Queensland) (19:45): I want to clarify that we are going to amendment (5) and skipped amendments (2) to (4). I wanted to make that clear because I am actually intersequence. As for amendment (5), we in the Labor Party know that the role of Infrastructure Australia will clock into the process when projects over $100 million are on the table. When projects over $100 million are in discussion, the NAIF board will be required to consult with Infrastructure Australia, which we talked about in our contribution as being a core element of our support for the process. Further, the mandatory criteria for the proposed investment includes a clear requirement that the proposed project will be of public benefit.

In considering public benefit, it is spelt out that the board will 1) give preference to those projects that will serve or have the capacity to serve multiple users and 2) produce benefits to the broader economy and community beyond those able to be captured by project proponents. The mandate, which we actually strongly support having in the process, also requires that the project is located in or will have significant benefit for northern Australia. Projects do not need to be entirely within those boundaries if they produce significant benefits to northern Australia-for example, a project that enhances north-south connectivity may be eligible.

We therefore believe that, given the process, the mandate and the cut-in of the Infrastructure Australia process, which does take into account the whole range of issues around public interest, the benefit will be demonstrated, including, as you pointed out, having a transparent cost-benefit approach. On that basis, we are not supporting the amendment proposed by the Greens.