Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund

As 2017 drew to a close the climate movement had much to celebrate. Hard fought campaigns directed at potential financial backers had resulted in Adani’s Carmichael coalmine being a far less certain prospect as one by one financial options dissolved.

With major financial institutions in Australia and overseas ruling out support for the project, Adani had pinned its hopes on China as a possible funding source as well as a market for Galilee Basin coal. In spite of the Australian government oiling the wheels for a deal, all major Chinese banks backed away in the end.

A noisy group of protesters gathered outside the Australian Infrastructure Investors Forum on September 12 to “welcome” its keynote speaker, the CEO of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) Laurie Walker. NAIF Board members are the focus of a campaign by the movement to prevent the massive Adani coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee basin.

Stop Adani groups are rapidly springing up in cities and towns across northern Queensland, intent on helping the movement against the company’s Carmichael coalmine.

Campaign roadshows have been springboards, including in Townsville and Port Douglas, with others proposed for Gordonvale and the Atherton Tablelands.

Veteran environmental campaigner and former Greens senator Bob Brown has previously pointed to Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine as the new Franklin River of environmental protest in Australia. Yet the future of this “climate bomb” hangs in the balance.

The Australia Institute (TAI) said the federal government’s $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) lacks resources and lags behind other comparable government organisations in terms of process and disclosure and in operational funding.

The government has said it would “look seriously” at using the fund to provide $1 billion to build a railway to carry coal from the controversial Adani Carmichael coalmine in Queensland to port for export and for a “clean coal” baseload power plant.

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