More secret deals at NAIF show ‘slush fund’ must be dissolved

Press release - 10 August, 2017
August 11, 2017: The secret departure of a board director of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) one week before a senate inquiry is yet another clear sign it is operating as a “slush fund” without accountability and must be disbanded.

A submission made to the inquiry by the NAIF itself shows that director Sally Pitkin ceased her association with the body on July 31, 2017.

No mention of Ms Pitkin’s departure has been made on the NAIF’s website nor has any public announcement been made about her position or the effect this resignation will have on the projects the board is considering.

“The NAIF is run by a compromised board of hand-picked mining executives, some of whom were personally familiar with, and recommended by, the former resources minister Matt Canavan,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy campaigner Nikola Casule said.

“They have consistently refused any public accountability or oversight. This latest resignation, done quietly behind the scenes only a week before a senate inquiry into the Facility, shows that the NAIF is in disarray and not fit for purpose.

“If the NAIF is truly to operate in the interests of Northern Australia rather than a $5 billion ‘slush fund’ of public money, as it was described by former treasurer, Wayne Swan, it must be disbanded so we can start again.”

The Australian Senate voted to establish an inquiry into the NAIF and any potential conflicts of interest on its board after revelations that one of the board’s directors, Karla Way-McPhail, also runs mining labour and equipment hire companies and had made “hyper-partisan comments” online in support of the coal industry.

For interviews contact:

Simon Black

Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

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