Extra transparency rejected for $5 Billion fund
LABOR has accused the Morrison Government of extending a "veil of secrecy" over a $5 billion investment fund after it rejected calls to boost transparency and accountability.
The Government dismissed a third of 12 recommendations from a Senate committee that investigated the governance and operation of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.
Opposition spokesman for Northern Australia Murray Watt said the Government took 15 months to respond to the Senate report and then "rejected every single recommendation that would boost the transparency and accountability" of the NAIF.
"The $5 billion NAIF has become notorious for the lack of transparency around its decision making processes," he said.
Senator Watt said the Government rejected recommendations to give two ministers oversight of the fund, publish board member conflicts of interests, explain how approved projects met mandatory investment criteria and allow the information commissioner to review transparency of freedom of information procedures.
Senator Canavan blasted the report as being "without merit, biased and politically motivated".
He said the NAIF was subject to rigorous governance, operation and reporting requirements and a recent report from national audit office concluded it had "an appropriate governance framework".
"Labor does not have the interest, ability, capacity or commitment to provide such support to the development of Northern Australia," he said.
Senator Watt said the NAIF had been "beset by issues over potential conflicts of interest involving its directors" and had a questionable record on freedom of information with 99.4 per cent of requests being rejected.
"This is a government fund and Australians have a right to know where their money is going and why," he said.
"Minister Canavan is showing once again that this LNP Government will do anything to avoid accountability."
Mr Canavan is scheduled to be questioned about the NAIF in Senate estimates today.