minister matt canavanNorthern Australia Minister Matt Canavan said the Turnbull government would pay a political price for backing “dud” projects from the $5 billion infrastructure fund, saying it would not be used to pork-barrel ahead of this year’s election.

Senator Canavan, who was promoted to the ministry in the cabinet reshuffle earlier this month, said the “devil will be in the detail” when assessing projects bidding for the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund, which will start to allocate money from July 1.

Amid fears the fund could be used to back unviable projects in the Top End, Senator Canavan said a board of commercially minded experts would assess the suitability of projects pitched by state and territory governments as well as the private sector.

The Rockhampton-based Senator said it was not in the Turnbull government’s interest to back projects that were going to go belly up.

He cited the Cairns Airport, expansion of the Port of Townsville and water infrastructure as worthy recipients of taxpayer funding.

“All of these projects are the kind we will be looking to support, but obviously the devil will be in the detail,” Senator Canavan told The Australian Financial Review.

“I’m very mindful to make sure we take a commercial and hard-headed approach to this. That’s why we will set up a suitably qualified commercial board so we are looking at financial, not political, outcomes.” To read more click here.

The Developing Northern Australia Conference Above the Line – unleashing the north’s potential continues the dialogue started in 2015 following the release of the Australian Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia. To register for the conference CLICK HERE.

Underpinned by the Government’s Top Actions Summary identified in the White Paper the Conference will explore how industry, business, Government and agribusiness are embracing the opportunities for sustainable growth into the next decade. To view a list of confirmed keynote speakers click here.

There are currently opportunities to speak at the conference. To submit an application to speak click here.