north australiaThe originally anticipated July 1 start date of the Northern Australian Infrastructure Fund is in the hands of the Senate, according to Minister for Northern Australia Matt Canavan.

Set to meet deadline in less than three months, the fund came under fire after it failed to move in the Senate two weeks ago as reported by The Northern Bulletin.

“The bill was prioritised, it went through the house so it was one of only three bills that went through the house last week so it’s now in the Senate,” Mr Canavan said.

“We would have got to it in the Senate as well but the Labor Party decided to set up some more enquiries including hauling a senator in front of an inquiry, an unprecedented move.

“They can explain for themselves why they thought that was a higher priority than northern development.”

Mr Canavan said it was up to the Senate to pass the bill.

“There is still two and a half months until July 1 so the bill is in the Senate now, so if we have the cooperation of the Labor Party next week it will pass,” he said.

“Providing we have the support in the Senate (the fund will commence on July 1).”

Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said projects like the Great Keppel Island development could have applied from July for a piece of the $5 billion pie.

“The commencement date of the scheme is now up in the air because the Turnbull Government has failed to prioritise the NAIF Bill,” she said.

“The legislation passed the Lower House and proceeded to the Senate which has now risen and will not return until Budget Week next month.”

Mrs Lauga called on the Turnbull Government to begin debate on the NAIF Bill on May 2 so it could be passed and the July 1 start date could be met.

“The Turnbull Government owes it to Keppel and Northern Australia to ensure the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund Bill is passed,” she said. To read more click here.

The Developing Northern Australia Conference Above the Line – unleashing the north’s potential will be held on 20-22 June 2016 at Darwin Convention Centre.

The Conference continues the dialogue started in 2015 following the release of the Australian Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia. To register your attendance at the conference CLICK HERE.  Early bird registrations close 6 May 2016, so be quick to receive a discounted rate.