Charity Commission chief Stephen Ritchie has told the ABC he expects to get the commission’s approval to start work on the $1.8bn infrastructure fund and the government’s $1bn carbon tax scheme.
Mr Ritchie said he had been advised by senior legal counsel he would have the power to approve any proposals.
“There is nothing to stop me from approving the infrastructure fund, but if I do that I would have to go to Parliament and say ‘is it constitutional for me to approve the carbon tax?'” he said.
He said he was not yet sure what the Government would want the money for.
“[The infrastructure fund] has got to be able to deliver the climate change benefits that we need,” he said, adding it would be better to focus on improving the health of communities and the economy.
The Commonwealth’s own Climate Change Authority found the project would need to deliver more than $700m to pay for the new buildings and upgrade of roads and public transport.
It also recommended the Government pay for a “significant increase in funding” to pay the cost of construction and other infrastructure costs.
Government says funding ‘in place’ for infrastructure fundThe Government said it had “fully funded” the $7.5 billion infrastructure fund to date and had received about $1 billion.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said the Government had failed to provide a clear plan for the money.
We have been assured by Stephen Richey that if the Government can find $1billion to pay back that debt it will do that, he said in a statement.
But he said the Coalition was “going to have to work with the Opposition to find a way to get $1b out of this hole” and to avoid a debt crisis.