Australian news, and some related international items

Bank calls for more transparency on Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility’s $5b loan scheme

‘More transparency needed’: Bank questions secrecy of $5b loan scheme, Newcastle Herald, 24 Aug 2017 A $5 billion infrastructure loan scheme derided as a secretive Turnbull government slush fund has attracted further criticism – this time from a major bank.

National Australia Bank – whose own industry is plagued by claims it is opaque and untrustworthy – has raised concerns that the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, a controversial government loan scheme designed to kickstart private sector investment in the north, lacks transparency.

NAB also warned that the fund was taking a “lender of last resort” approach that may not provide the economic shot-in-the-arm that Northern Australia requires.

The bank’s concern adds to a chorus of complaint that the much-vaunted infrastructure fund, which headlined the 2015 federal budget, is cloaked in secrecy, lacks governance and exposes taxpayers to a high risk of losing their money.

The Productivity Commission has warned of possible political interference in the  investment decisions, and former treasurer Wayne Swan described it as a government “slush fund” operated by a board stacked in favour of the mining industry.


August 25, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics

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