The Albanese government should amend the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Bill to prevent NAIF from providing financial assistance to fossil fuel projects – consistent with other similar public funds, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

“The government has rightly closed the door on other major national funds being used to subsidise the coal and gas industries and it should do the same for the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility,” said ACF’s Climate Change program manager Gavan McFadzean.

“The Albanese government recently amended the Powering the Regions Fund and the National Reconstruction Fund to ensure they cannot be used to finance coal or gas projects.

“It would fly in the face of the government’s climate commitments – and would be a slap in the face to the many Australians who are doing it tough – if public money was given to projects that facilitate or enable the expansion of climate-damaging projects.

“We have serious fears the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility will finance the exploitation of gas from the Beetaloo Basin if the legislation does not prevent this.

“ACF urges the Albanese government to amend the NAIF legislation before parliament this week so it cannot directly or indirectly finance fossil fuels.

“A financially and environmentally responsible government would stop handing out public money to the industries that are most responsible for harming our climate.

“Public money should be invested in projects that enable Australian communities to enjoy a safe climate future, not projects that facilitate more climate damage.”

Analysis by Reputex estimates that under a high production scenario the Beetaloo and Macarthur Basins could create 1.4 billion tonnes of climate pollution – more than 2.5 times Australia’s total annual emissions – over two decades.

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2023 is expected to be debated in parliament this week.

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