Canavan discloses membership after loan

Rebecca Gredley

Nationals MP Matt Canavan failed to disclose an interest with a rugby league club that received a $20 million federal government loan through a program he was responsible for.

Senator Canavan, who was minister for resources and Northern Australia until Monday, told reporters he had not disclosed his membership of the North Queensland Cowboys.

"It's an interest that I should have disclosed and I have not," he said.

"I've taken the first opportunity to disclose it here and I'll do the same in the Senate.

"I've sought advice from the prime minister's office about it. I don't think there's been a breach of ministerial standards."

Senator Canavan announced in December last year the rugby league club had been granted a $20 million loan through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to build a new training centre.

The Queenslander said he didn't approve loans under the scheme.

"I have limited ability as the minister to reject loans but at the same time I have to declare that and be up front with the Australian people on that failure."

The headline for the press release at the time read: "Canavan approves $20 million for NQ Cowboys multi-use training centre to progress".

Senator Canavan says he signed up as a "regional supporter" of the rugby club a few years ago.

"My membership entitles me to a membership of the league's club, I don't have any control or influence over the football club itself."