Exposing Canavan’s Coal Slush Fund

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility: secretive, compromised and currently considering giving $1 billion of public money to the climate-wrecking Carmichael coal mine.

But the good news is that the Federal Parliament has just authorised a Senate inquiry into the NAIF, to get to the bottom of the conflict of interest and secrecy at the heart of this coal slush fund.

Here’s what this means for you, the climate, and the Great Barrier Reef.

Why should I care?

The NAIF has $5 billion of your money to give as cheap loans to infrastructure projects in Northern Australia.

But its board is stacked with mining industry stuffed shirts, and government ministers have been promoting its possible loan to the Carmichael coal mine (the one right next to the Great Barrier Reef) since the beginning.

Check out our explainer video for more details here:

NAIF is biased and compromised

Five of the NAIF’s seven board members have strong ties to the mining industry.

Greenpeace research reveals that five of the seven board members have connections to the mining industry.

HMMMM seems fishy ey?

What’s more, NAIF board member Karla Way McPhail is a personal friend of Matt Canavan, Minister for Northern Australia, who recommended her for the position, and has donated money to the LNP. She also runs mining labour and equipment hire companies and made ‘hyper-partisan’ comments on Facebook in favour of the coal mining industry.

McPhail’s situation has gotten so bad that there are now calls for her to resign from the NAIF board.

NAIF is secretive

NAIF has regularly refused to provide even basic information about its operations, even via Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, despite being required to do so by law.

When Greenpeace asked, via the FOI process, for information about when and where its board meets, NAIF’s CEO told us that they would not tell us because they were worried about opposition from the community in towns where it was meeting.

Over the last two weeks, hundreds of Greenpeace supporters have put in their own FOIs to try to uncover what’s really going on. NAIF has now replied, again refusing to provide any information.

What can a Senate inquiry do about this?

A formal Senate inquiry can force NAIF officers like the CEO, Chair of the board, and board members to testify and provide information they’ve tried to hide.

It will not only provide much needed publicity about the secretive and compromised way the NAIF works, but could get answers to important questions about how the NAIF works, who its board members are really working for, and why it is trying to give $1 billion to a dead-end coal mine that threatens the Great Barrier Reef.

What can I do?

If the NAIF loan to the Carmichael coal mines goes ahead, it could open up other sources of finance for the mine, making it more likely to go ahead. Carmichael would be the biggest coal mine in Australia, driving climate change and devastating the Great Barrier Reef already on the brink from two consecutive years of coral bleaching.

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