Assistant Minister for Manufacturing Tim Ayres has ridiculed concerns raised by the Nationals over the accountability of the National Reconstruction Fund now before the Senate.
In a media interview Ayres said: “Honestly, these guys are just having themselves on, they are trying to find a justification when there is no justification.
“This will be an independent board, just like the CEFC board, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation board. It will engage in these issues on the basis of its mandate in an independent way.”
Ayres said the National Party was addicted to grants and rorts.
“That’s been the history of the Morrison Government and the governments that preceded it – utterly addicted to rorts and grants that became the subject of enormous public criticism and Auditor-General reports.
“This is quite a different approach – completely independent of government…(and) about co-investments and loans and guarantees that will ensure a return to the taxpayer so that this fund continues to grow.”
Asked whether the board would be ‘Labor’s captain picks’, Ayres said the board would look a lot like the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which had not been criticised.
“There won’t be a Scott Morrison style grants operations here. This will be sensible, careful, independent investments with a high standard of governance and public accountability.”
Picture: Tim Ayres