THE Northern Territory Government last week released a discussion paper outlining plans for a new Territory Infrastructure Development Fund to ensure a proportion of revenue from any asset sale is reinvested for the benefit of future generations.
The discussion paper sets out the rationale and purpose of the fund and also provides details of the proposed governance of the fund, including the role of the statutory board overseeing the fund and how money would be invested.
"We have said that we want a mature debate about the future of TIO and this proposed new Infrastructure Development Fund is part of that conversation," Chief Minister Adam Giles said.
"Through this proposed Infrastructure Development Fund, a proportion of the proceeds from any sale would be set aside for longer-term infrastructure projects that benefit our children and grandchildren."
The Fund would be established under legislation and administered by a statutory board appointed by Cabinet. The money could only be used for investment in economic and social infrastructure in the Northern Territory. It would also be required to leverage private investment, where viable, and access contributions from available Commonwealth funding for infrastructure purposes.
The Board would assess potential projects and then make recommendations to the Treasurer applying the following economic criteria:
- The nature of the direct economic costs and benefits of the proposal, including potential returns to private investors;
- The investment risks for private proponents and government;
- The wider economic benefits of the proposal, including the scope to unlock longer term economic development prospects for the Territory and to facilitate private investment in downstream markets;
- The potential to establish new industries in the Territory and to support economic development in regional and remote areas; and
- The capacity to promote defined public policy objectives, such as improved education, health and housing outcomes.
"If a sale does proceed, legislation establishing the Fund will be introduced into Parliament early in the New Year, with operations to begin in the first quarter of 2015," Mr Giles said.
"The remainder of the proceeds from any TIO sale would be used for more immediate infrastructure needs, especially to stimulate the economy post-INPEX in 2016."
The Northern Territory Infrastructure Development Fund Discussion Paper is available from <http://newsroom.nt.gov.au/api/attachment/byId/6671> (PDF: 1.11 MB).