Coal slush fund will be redesigned to be even slushier

Press release - 6 September, 2017
September 7, 2017: Barnaby Joyce’s declaration that the government is “redesigning the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF)” so it can use $5 billion in taxpayer funds to better serve mining interests is a slap in the face to millions of Australians.

The deputy PM made the troubling promise during a speech to the Minerals Council on Wednesday, during which he also attacked charities and environmental groups. The NAIF is currently considering a $1 billion loan to the Carmichael coal mine project.

“The deputy PM is no longer pretending the NAIF is intended to do anything else other than siphon off $5 billion of taxpayers’ money to be used as a gift to the mining industry,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said.

“This is a slap in the face to taxpayers, tourism operators, farmers, developers of renewable energy projects, and basically anyone else that isn't a well-paid mining executive living on public subsidies.

“The NAIF has already been heavily criticised by leading voices in government and the corporate sector and is the subject of a senate inquiry over potential conflicts of interest. Making it more biased in favour of mining will only worsen the perception that it’s little more than a government-run slush fund.”

The NAIF is not fit for purpose and the only solution is to scrap it completely and start again rather than creating a Frankenstein’s monster beholden only to the mining industry.

“Barnaby Joyce is right that Australians are in the fight of their lives,” Casule said.

“The coal mining industry is killing beloved natural treasures like the Great Barrier Reef, poisoning our air and water, and fuelling dangerous global warming.

“Major financial institutions and businesses are recognising that continuing to fetishise coal is a road to nowhere. As recently as yesterday the CEO of AGL said coal could not deliver the reliable, affordable energy Australians need.  

“The deputy PM needs to wake up, dismantle the NAIF, and stop propping up a dead industry that is doing immense damage.”

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

[1] http://bit.ly/2vMpdXs

 

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