On 14 June 2017, the Senate referred matters relating to the governance and operation of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to the Senate Economics References Committee (the committee) for inquiry and report by 7 December 2017. The committee received two extensions to report by 6 July 2018.
The terms of references for the inquiry are: The governance and operation of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), with particular reference to:
a. the adequacy and transparency of the NAIF's governance framework, including its project assessment and approval processes;
b. the adequacy of the NAIF's Investment Mandate, risk appetite statement and public interest test in guiding decisions of the NAIF Board;
c. processes used to appoint NAIF Board members, including assessment of potential conflicts of interest;
d. the transparency of the NAIF's policies in managing perceived, actual or potential conflicts of interest of its Board members;
e. the adequacy of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Act 2016 and Investment Mandate to provide for and maintain the independence of decisions of the Board;
f. the status and role of state and territory governments under the NAIF, including any agreements between states and territories and the Federal Government; and
g. any other related matters.
The report is divided into five chapters including this introductory chapter:
Chapter 2 examines NAIF's governance framework, including its Act, Investment Mandate and governance policies. This includes an assessment of the 2018 Investment Mandate.
Chapter 3 examines NAIF's Board of Directors, including how it deals with conflicts of interest.
Chapter 4 examines issues in relation to NAIF's project assessment and approval processes.
Chapter 5 examines issues around NAIF's transparency and accountability, as well as how it communicates and engages with the public.