The Senate Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport has tabled their report into the Regional Investment Corporation Bill 2017 (Cth). The Bill will provide $2 billion in concessional loans to the farm business program and $2 billion to the National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility. To facilitate this rural financing, it will establish the Regional Investment Corporation as a corporate Commonwealth entity. Ministers will retain powers to direct on classes of, not individual, farm business loans and individual water infrastructure projects. On the basis that the Bill would increase the efficiency and consistency of concessional loan schemes across Australia, the committee recommended that the Bill be passed. However, Labor Senators dissented to this committee’s conclusion on the basis that the Government has failed to establish a policy rationale for the Bill.
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