A 20% stake in Darwin Port is to remain in public hands, the Northern Territory Government has announced.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said this arrangement would give the Territory government and Territorians greater control and input regarding the port and at the Landbridge company.
Landbridge is the Chinese company that runs the port.
“This is a positive outcome to retain the Territory’s interest in Darwin Port and I look forward in working with Landbridge to grow and develop the Port and boost and diversify the Northern Territory economy, creating jobs well into the future,” Mr Gunner said.
“Following negotiations over the last few months the Territory Government and Landbridge have agreed that the Territory will retain the 20% for the remaining 98-year term of the lease.
“The NT Government will not be required to refund any of the $506m lease purchase price to retain the 20% stake.”
Key points of the deal include:
- NT Government will not refund any of the $506m lease purchase price to retain the 20% stake;
- The agreement will allow the Territory to have ongoing input into the operation of the Port, including appointments to positions at the Port and at Landbridge;
- The NT doesn’t contribute to capital investment or operating costs for the 20% stake;
- Flexibility for the Territory to divest its interest will be maintained, but within agreed windows;
- The Commonwealth Government is to have a say in any future divestment of the NT Government’s 20% stake.
“Landbridge and the NT Government share a desire to grow and develop the Port and our retention of the 20% interest further supports this,” Mr Gunner said.
“Landbridge has shown commitment to building positive and lasting relationships in the Northern Territory and commitment to the development of the region.
“This includes a pledge from Landbridge to invest $35 million in port infrastructure over five years and new investment in the Luxury Hotel and Industry and Logistics Park developments.”
Mr Gunner said the Commonwealth Government had been advised of this announcement. The privatisation of the Port of Darwin was announced in late 2015 by the former Country Liberal Party government in the Territory.