Article – Northern white paper runaround

3 March 2015
CONTINUED heat on the Abbott Government to table the six-months-late Northern Australia White Paper is sending government officials into a spin.
During Senate Estimates last week, questions about the White Paper were asked of senior officials in the two government departments responsible for key elements of the paper.
The officials’ answers at Estimates were conflicting.
Senator for North Queensland Jan McLucas said officials from the Prime Minister’s Northern Australia Taskforce couldn’t answer questions on when the White Paper would be released or if was finalised.
“But on Tuesday, when I asked the same question to officials from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, I was told the White Paper would be released around the middle of the year,” Senator McLucas said.
Officials from both departments gave conflicting advice on a Northern Australia infrastructure audit and the development of a 15- year rolling priority list of projects.
The Northern Australia Taskforce said the 15-year project list was a national commitment. But it wouldn’t be drawn on whether a 15-year plan would be part of the White Paper nor whether the infrastructure audit would be included.
Courtesy of the Tablelander