Australian gov't rules out canceling Chinese firm's lease of Port of Darwin-Xinhua

Australian gov't rules out canceling Chinese firm's lease of Port of Darwin

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2023-10-20 16:11:00

CANBERRA, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government has announced it will not cancel a Chinese company's lease of the Port of Darwin.

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet on Friday announced that, following a review, it decided it was "not necessary to vary or cancel" the Landbridge Group's 99-year lease of the port in the capital of the Northern Territory (NT).

The Landbridge Group, a Chinese firm, in 2015 signed a deal with the government of the NT to lease the port following a bidding process.

Shortly after winning power in 2022, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese instructed his department to review the lease.

The review, which took advice from government departments and security agencies, found that Australia has a "robust regulatory system in place" to manage critical infrastructure assets, including the port.

In a statement, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet said the government had accepted its advice.

"Existing monitoring mechanisms are sufficient and will be ongoing; and as a result, it was not necessary to vary or cancel the lease," the statement said.

"Australians can have confidence that their safety will not be compromised, while ensuring that Australia remains a competitive destination for foreign investment."

The Port of Darwin is Australia's nearest major port to Asia and is one of the country's busiest seaports.

According to Landbridge Group data, the port's gross registered tonnage (GRT) for the financial year 2022/23 was 26.7 million, up from 17.4 million in 2015-16.