Prominent Australians’ open letter warns NAIF board against giving $1 billion of taxpayers’ money to Adani rail line

Press release - 9 August, 2017
August 10, 2017: Leaders from Australian business, industry, and academia have published an open letter in The Australian Financial Review calling for the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to provide more transparency around their policies one day before a senate inquiry into the board’s composition.

The letter also calls for members to rule out any involvement with Adani’s Carmichael mine in Queensland, with the NAIF currently considering a proposal to loan $1 billion of taxpayers’ money to the billionaire mining company for the construction of a rail line.

“Given the large amount of public money at stake and the high degree of community interest in this issue, it is particularly important that the public not be kept in the dark,” the letter reads.

“We ask you to be transparent and open in your decision-making.

“In reaching your decision, please give proper weight to the overwhelming popular conviction that public money should not be used to finance Adani’s high-risk Carmichael project.”

The letter comes one day before the fund is due to face a senate grilling over possible conflicts of interest on its board after revelations that one of the board’s directors also runs companies associated with mining labour and equipment hire and was personally known by the the former resources minister.

“The controversy surrounding the NAIF and its consideration of this project has united Australians from every background,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy campaigner Nikola Casule said.

“This letter is another reminder that both experts in corporate governance and transparency as well as ordinary Australians are opposed to any taxpayers’ money being used to prop up a dying industry. New coal mines, like the Carmichael mine, aren’t viable without the support they get from the government in the form of subsidies and royalty holidays.

“With this letter more prominent voices join those of former treasurer Wayne Swan and former Liberal Party leader John Hewson in warning against any public money going into this mine.”

The letter has been signed by:

Jon Altman Professor of Anthropology, Deakin University

Frank Bongiorno Professor of History, Australian National University

Ian Dunlop Former Chair, Australian Coal Association and CEO AICD

Robyn Eckersley Professor of Political Science, University of Melbourne

Alex Gardner Professor of Natural Resources and Environmental Law, The University of

Western Australia

Sarah Joseph Professor of Law, Monash University

John Keane Professor of Politics, University of Sydney

Stephen Keim SC Senior Counsel

Greg McIntyre SC Senior Counsel

John Quiggin Professor of Economics, University of Queensland

Barry Rafe Director Trainer

Christopher Wright Professor of Organisational Studies, University of Sydney

James Wright CEO, Future Business Council

 

For interviews contact:

Simon Black

Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

0418 219 086 /

 

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