United Daily News (UDN), one of the primary Taiwanese news groups, recently reported that Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese publicly stated that the Australian government will review its 99-year lease of the Port of Darwin to Chinese companies. According to information on Albanese’s personal website, as early as 2018 when he was Labor Party’s infrastructure spokesman, he had already publicly opposed allowing the Chinese-owned Landbridge Group Australia to obtain the 99-year lease of the Port of Darwin. Subsequently, Albanese has repeatedly objected, saying that the Port of Darwin should not fall into the hands of any foreign enterprises.
Albanese said he had promised before the May election that when Labor came to power, he would push for a review of Landbridge’s lease. Albanese said Labor had backed the then Scott Morrison administration in the past when it was the opposition party to push for legislation so the federal government could block agreements between local governments and foreign entities. The Port of Darwin is the northernmost deep-water port in Australia and the closest to Asia. It is considered to be an important strategic stronghold for Australia. The Landbridge Group’s lease of the Port continues to be the focus of Australia’s national security controversy. However, in March this year, the Australian government announced that it would spend A$1.5 billion (about US$1.1 billion) to build a new port facility in Darwin. The New Port Plan is based on national security considerations, so that the Australian and US troops can avoid using the Darwin port facilities that Chinese companies operate.
Source: UDN, June 8, 2022