Barnaby Joyce has been timid whether taxpayers foot the bill to support the mining sector as the internal battle to reach a deal on a net zero target rages on.
Taxpayers may soon be called upon to foot the bill to fund the mining sector as part of a multibillion-dollar proposal from the Nationals.
Resources Minister Keith Pitt and backbench Senator Matt Canavan made the request on Thursday, with the Australian Financial Review announcing they would push the government to establish a state-funded last resort loan facility of 250 billion dollars for the sector.
Speaking to ABC Radio National, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said he was in favor of the proposal but noted that it was not yet the position of the Nationals village hall.
“What they’re saying is a very fair comment that you can’t have your sovereignty over your nation determined by other people… what a council decides to invest in or not.”
When asked whether taxpayers should step in where private lending facilities wouldn’t, Joyce repeatedly dodged the question.
“I don’t like the idea that our sovereignty of our nation is determined by a finance arm of another country or a board member.”
Host Patricia Karvelas again insisted: “But do you think the taxpayer should step in?”
“Taxpayers shouldn’t have to step in if the banks haven’t done it, if the banks have done what they’re supposed to do, and understand that in order for our nation to win, it must have dollars in it. ‘export.”
Earlier, Coalition colleague and moderate Liberal Jason Falinski rejected the proposal.
“This is not a good use of taxpayer funds. The government should not agree to lend money to private companies when the private sector refuses to lend money.
“I mean, we tried this, we tried that in the 1980s. In Victoria it was called the Pyramid Building Society. He blew up the Victorian economy and almost blew up the Australian economy.
“The government’s commitment to lend money to private sector companies has never worked anywhere in the world. It is not something that we should be trying to do.
Despite the looming Glasgow climate summit deadline, Joyce said the nationals had yet to reach an agreement with their coalition partners on a net zero emissions target.
Mr Joyce and the rest of the Nationals leadership group, Deputy Chief David Littleproud and Senior Minister Bridget McKenzie, met this morning to discuss the way forward.
“I know the Prime Minister will undoubtedly present what he sees as the process, then we will bring it back to the nationals to allow them to hold their deliberations,” he said.
“My point of view as Deputy Prime Minister and Head of Nationals is to ensure that we follow a process, which is the review of everything that comes before us.”