The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility criteria, released by the Turnbull Government today, fail to rule out the $5 billion facility becoming a slush fund for big mining companies.
Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and mining spokesperson, said the draft criteria do not consider environmental, cultural or social impacts.
"The so-called 'public benefit' criteria fails mention of environmental or social impacts, and the criteria fail to rule out propping up the dying coal industry by building rail, port, water or power infrastructure for mega coal mines.
"Minister Frydenberg has made some loose comments about Galilee Basin projects not being priorities for the facility but the criteria leave the door wide open to funding infrastructure for these white elephants.
"Again we see a slight change in rhetoric from the Turnbull Government but no change in substance," Senator Waters said.
Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens Northern Australia spokesperson, said protection of Northern Australia's unique cultural and environmental heritage must underpin development.
"Development in Northern Australia must be in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, which this draft criteria completely neglects.
"The Greens' vision for Northern Australia is a conservation and hybrid economy that captures a carbon economy, ecotourism, renewable energy hubs and services.
"A sustainable future for Northern Australia must support the existing robust small enterprise economy of horticulture and agriculture industries already thriving in the area."
Senator Janet Rice, Australian Greens infrastructure spokesperson, said infrastructure must be planned and built in the interests of communities, the environment, and local, sustainable economies.
"It's essential that the government ensures transparent, evidence based and accountable planning processes.
"The Greens will be closely monitoring this process and the government's rollout of this policy, to ensure this isn't just a slush fund for big miners and unsustainable development," Senator Rice said.