Joyce raises concerns over $5.6bn infrastructure fund

Senator concerned infrastructure fund will not be invested in mining regions despite money coming from mining tax

By Brad Gardner | May 31, 2010

A Nationals senator has raised concerns a $5.6 billion infrastructure fund will not be spent on mining regions despite the money coming from a tax on mining companies.

Senator Barnaby Joyce claims revenue from the Rudd Government’s proposed tax on mining profits will be spent on capital city infrastructure needs.

The Government earlier this month proposed using revenue from the tax to fund $5.6 billion of infrastructure projects in states with large natural resources such as Western Australia and Queensland.

"…there is absolutely nothing that suggests, when you really drill down to it, that they need to spend it in the regions," Joyce says.

"So in Western Australia they can spend it in Perth. In Queensland they can spend it in Brisbane."

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Secretary Mike Mrdak says he cannot confirm if limitations will be placed on jurisdictions receiving funding.

"It is my understanding that the government has not settled the guidelines for the fund," Mrdak says.

"It will deliver $700 million in 2012-13 and more than $5.6 billion over the next decade, particularly for mining states. I think it is fair to say that the discussions are taking place."

The tax is also designed to pay for superannuation increases and small business tax breaks, while Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says it will ensure Australians receive a fair share of mineral profits.

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