The Managing Director of 4Tel Mr Derel Wust notes the on-going debate in the media regarding a controversial $1B loan being sought by Adani from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund for its Carmichael Rail Line. It is not often we choose to become involved in controversial debates, but we felt the need to voice a position on this topic due to the impact on Australian industry development and jobs growth.
Derel said, “If this money has the purpose of creating an open-access railway that will contribute to opening up the Galilee Basin to other mines, local industry and jobs growth, and royalties to the Government and taxpayer, then a $1B investment makes sense, as many billions will be returned to the Government and economy over many years”.
However, in contributing to this debate, Derel suggests “this entity should be stand-alone as a below-rail, nationally-owned, critical infrastructure company, with Adani only being a minority shareholder and having a board seat. This would also allow the Government to competitively source Australian services and technology on the line to promote Australian jobs and technology exports”.
Derel continues, “This nationalistic approach is quite normal overseas when Governments invest – they make sure that national companies receive competitive preference in supplying strategic items to stop the investment simply flowing overseas into foreign coffers. So, if the Government via its fund is going to commit $1B of taxpayer funding, while promoting a wider innovation agenda for jobs and export growth, who’s jobs and growth are they referring to with this one billion dollars?”
Derel asks that this sort of funding and loan conditions be sensitive to Australia’s innovation agenda, jobs growth and resulting export opportunities.