Northern Australia minister David Littleproud has defended the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund despite it giving out less than 10pc of its available funding since its creation six years.
Speaking during his visit to Mount Isa last week, Mr Littleproud said that while only $427m of the five billion was drawn down, around $3.2 billion had been committed from the NAIF of the five billion and the balance would will be committed within the next 6-12 months.
"That's a responsible thing to do as we are asking the proponents to use their money first before they use Australian taxpayers' money," Mr Littleproud said.
"It also means there is skin in the game by the proponents to actually build the infrastructure, not get halfway through and walk away - that would be a reckless use of taxpayers' money."
Mr Littleproud said the drawdowns from the NAIF would start to ramp up.
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"We'll have to relook at that NAIF balance and see do we extend it because there is a pipeline that's starting to come through, there is a degree of confidence from the business sector," he said.
"Because what we are trying to do is derisk our investments as best we can, partner with capital to give them the opportunity to derisk projects to backers and that has happened but these projects aren't your garden variety ice cream shops on the main street, these are big projects that take time to build and that's why you'll see an acceleration of that as they meet those milestones in building."
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