BREAKFAST, ABC FNQ
WEDNESDAY, 13 JUNE 2018
SUBJECT: $71,500 spent to find new NAIF Chairperson, NAIF failure to invest.
KIER SHOREY: We're joined now by Jason Clare who is the Shadow Minister for Resources and Northern Australia. Good morning sir. Let's kick off first with that recruitment price tag, $70,000 paid to the U S firm. Warren Etsch saying that's a reasonable amount of money to search for a person of the calibre they need for the position. Many of us don't know much about this space, Jason Clare so is he right?
JASON CLARE: Well it’s a lot of money. It’s a big bucket of money. You would hope that you could recruit somebody of the quality needed spending less money than that. I think the real problem here is that there's a lot of money that’s being spent on NAIF and no money is coming out of it - investing in projects that are going to create jobs in North Queensland. That’s the real problem. People wouldn't mind so much if NAIF was doing its job.
SHOREY: Jason Clare we do hear constantly though from NAIF that there are projects in the pipeline and as Warren Entsch just said then, it's about getting it right. There'd be an outcry if they were funding things that weren't actually viable.
CLARE: I think that's true. The real problem here though is it’s too slow. It’s too slow in getting its act together. NAIF was announced three years ago and we were told then that this was going to fund infrastructure projects across the north and get people jobs. Well three years later they still haven't funded one project in North Queensland. That's why I’ve described this as the most constipated organisation the Government has ever set up. It will be good. I support the idea of the NAIF. We need to invest in projects that are going to give us the infrastructure we need and create jobs on the ground. But for God's sake get moving. We're told that NAIF’s got about 87 projects that they're looking at, at the moment. The sooner they get on with it and fund the best ones the better.
SHOREY: Warren Entsch also blamed the State Government there for playing politics and not doing their best job to get projects together and apply for the funds. What's your reaction to that?
CLARE: Look I think Entschy is embarrassed. Like most of the Government they're embarrassed because they announced this three years ago with much fanfare. They said this was going to be a big game changer and help the people of the north and it's done bugger all. The Queensland Government stands ready to support good projects. What happens is NAIF recommends a project to Government. The government ticks it off. The Queensland Government has to tick it off as well but the Queensland Government can’t tick things off if NAIF doesn't process and approve any projects and that's the real problem here. We've had nothing for Queensland, one for the Northern Territory, one for WA, and even the ones in Northern Territory and WA haven't got their money yet. After three years I think it's right for people to feel dudded.
SHOREY: Well Jason Clare I do appreciate your reaction this morning, thank you.
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