Taxpayers could be on the hook for millions if Chinese owner forced to sell Port of Darwin



Anthony Galloway | Sydney Morning Herald

Australian taxpayers could face a multimillion-dollar compensation bill if the federal government forced a Chinese company to give up its ownership of the Port of Darwin.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age revealed on Monday the national security committee of cabinet had asked the Defence Department to review the Northern Territory’s 99-year lease of the port to Landbridge in 2015.

This could result in the company, owned by Chinese billionaire Ye Cheng, having to divest the strategically important asset on national security grounds under critical infrastructure laws passed in 2018.

A costing undertaken by the Parliamentary Budget Office two years ago estimated the federal government would have to pay $30 million in compensation to Landbridge if it was required to give up the port.

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