Leader of federal infrastructure financier resigns, drawing claims of ‘revolving door’ at agency

By Jackson Graham

February 28, 2022

revolving door
Amanda Copping has moved into the top job at the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility. (Andrey/Adobe)

The acting chief of a federal development financier has resigned, leading the government on its fourth search for a leader at the agency in three years. 

Amanda Copping moved into the top job at the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility after former chief executive Chris Wade quit in October, only a short time before being scheduled to appear at a senate estimates hearing.

The exact reasons for his departure have not been made public. He came into the role after the departure of the agency’s inaugural CEO, Laurie Walker, in 2019. 

Copping will leave the role in late March to pursue another career opportunity. 

Labor’s spokesperson for northern Australia, Murray Watt, said in a statement the agency had become “a revolving door of CEOs” at a time when the expansive area needed stability. 

“Northern Australians deserve a government that actually builds projects and creates jobs, not one that makes big promises and never delivers,” Watt said. 

Copping told senate estimates this month the agency had drawn down $585.2 million of its $5 billion fund, investing across Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. 

Watt pointed out this was only 10% of the funds available to the agency in seven years since it had been formed. But Copping told the hearing the NAIF had made $3.4 billion of investment decisions, $2.2 billion of which had reached contractual close. 

“The timing of drawdown is at the borrower’s request. They draw on the lines as they need the funds and, as the funds are for construction, they’re not drawn in a single tranche,” Copping said. 

Copping, who is due to depart on March 23, said in a statement to The Mandarin that she was proud to have played a role in bringing finance and infrastructure to the north. 

“With the NAIF reforms now being implemented and investment commitments continuing to be approved by the NAIF Board, I will depart the organisation at a time when the future is bright for NAIF,” she said.

“I will leave behind a good team who are excited about NAIF’s mission to deliver investment to the north, generating jobs and indigenous outcomes for the region. I wish everyone well.”   

Copping has been a senior member of NAIF since 2017. She has been in roles including as a member of the organisation’s investment team and chief investment officer.

An NAIF spokesperson says the recruitment process for a new permanent chief executive officer is progressing. 


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