Labor is calling on the Morrison Government to use its idle $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to provide further economic stimulus to Northern Australia in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Many parts of Northern Australia were already suffering above average unemployment and have now been hit hard by coronavirus.
At a time when our north is hurting, the Government must take every action possible to support the region’s workers and businesses.
When the $5 billion NAIF was announced in 2015, the Government claimed it would create jobs and boost investment in Northern Australia. Sadly, that hasn’t happened.
Nearly five years on, only $88.5 million has been released for projects in Northern Australia, less than two per cent in total funding.
With the collapse in tourism, retail and other industries, we are seeing regional centres across Northern Australia among the hardest hit.
Places like Darwin, Kakadu and Uluru, which normally have thriving tourism industries, are seeing businesses closing and thousands of jobs lost. They need support urgently.
This funding for Northern Australia has been locked up for far too long. It’s time the Government and the NAIF delivered on its promise.