FEDERAL Labor MP Nick Champion would like to see Darwin Port returned to Australian control which would mean ending the 99-year lease signed with Chinese company Landbridge in 2015.

Mr Champion is behind the latest push for the port to be nationalised as an “assertion of our national sovereignty”.

The ABC reported there is concern over Beijing’s steady military build-up in the Indo-Pacific region and possible plans to establish a new military base in a Cambodian port.

“I think there was not enough consideration of the national interest in that particular privatisation of this port,” Mr Champion told the ABC.

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Mr Champion believes the Commonwealth should now consider buying Darwin Port back.

“It’s a very important port because we have significant defence facilities in the Northern Territory and that’s the part of the world I guess we have to pay a great deal of attention to,” he reportedly said.

“We should look pretty clearly at making sure that that port is in government hands, and it’s for those reasons I think it should be nationalised.”

Neil James from the Australia Defence Association welcomed the discussion but said, “it may be better to spend the money on purpose-designed facilities elsewhere”.

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