A worker in a manufacturing plant (file image)
The federal government's funding program aims to boost industry and manufacturing. Image by Dan Peled/AAP PHOTOS

No, $15b reconstruction fund has not been scrapped

William Summers April 2, 2024

The federal government has scrapped its promised $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund.


False. The fund has not been cancelled. A CEO was appointed in February and the fund is seeking investment partners.

There are claims the federal government has scrapped a flagship funding program established in 2023 to boost industry and manufacturing.

Pat Mesiti, a former church pastor turned “income acceleration coach“, says the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund is now “gone”.

This is false. The fund has not been cancelled. A federal government spokesman told AAP FactCheck the claim was baseless.

A board was appointed in August 2023 and a chief executive officer was appointed in February 2024. At the time of writing, the fund is operational and open to business investment proposals.

Mr Mesiti made the claim in a Facebook video on March 20.

A screenshot from the Facebook video.
 Pat Mesiti regularly posts videos on his Facebook page. 

“Today, as I stand here speaking, our illustrious, plane jet-setting prime minister, Albanese, just reneged on a $15 billion promise he made to manufacturing in this country,” Mr Mesiti says (video mark 26sec).

“…but he promised $15 billion to help manufacturing in this country and what’s he done? Scrapped it.”

He repeats the claim later in the video, saying “15 billion out of the manufacturing has gone” (video mark 4min 44sec).

AAP FactCheck contacted Mr Mesiti by email to confirm he was referring to the National Reconstruction Fund and received a response that said: “Yes, that is correct.”

There is no evidence the fund has been scrapped or faces cancellation.

The fund is a Labor policy that the party describes as “the first step” to rebuild Australia’s industrial base.

It is administered by the National Reconstruction Fund Corporation (NRFC), a Commonwealth entity tasked with pumping finance into priority areas of the economy (page 3) including agriculture, medical science and renewables.

The NRFC was established by parliament through the National Reconstruction Fund Corporation Bill 2023, which passed into law on April 11, 2023.

The coalition voted against the bill, with opposition deputy leader Sussan Ley saying the investment vehicle would do “nothing to support industries impacted by inflationary pressures” (page 670).

The government announced the fund’s board members and chair on August 9, 2023. The board subsequently appointed former Macquarie Group executive Ivan Power as the organisation’s chief executive officer.

Industry Minister Ed Husic announced Mr Power’s appointment as CEO on February 1, 2024, and he started working in the role on February 13.

Ivan Power (left) and Ed Husic (file image)
 National Reconstruction Fund CEO Ivan Power (left) with Industry Minister Ed Husic. 

AAP FactCheck found no evidence the NRFC or the $15 billion fund it administered were “scrapped” or “gone”.

On March 19, 2024, an article in The Australian said the NRFC board did not sign off on the organisation’s funding process until January 22.

However, the article also said the funding body was “now up and running”, though it had yet to distribute any funds to businesses.

The fund does not have fixed funding rounds or closing dates. Instead, the NRFC invites businesses to submit funding proposals via its website.

A federal Department of Industry, Science, and Resources spokesman told AAP FactCheck that Mr Mesiti’s claim was wrong.

“It is completely false to suggest the government has scrapped or cancelled the National Reconstruction Fund,” the spokesman said.

AAP FactCheck has debunked other claims from Mr Mesiti – here, here and here.

The Verdict

The claim the federal government’s National Reconstruction Fund has been scrapped is false.

The organisation that administers the fund was formally established by parliament in April 2023. At the time of writing, the fund was actively seeking investment partners.

The federal Department of Industry, Science, and Resources told AAP FactCheck the fund is operational and has not been scrapped.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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