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Ripping up Port of Darwin lease could cost $500m as the 'start of a negotiating point'

Sky News Australia logo Sky News Australia 4/05/2021 Sky News Australia

Ripping up the 99-year lease of the Port of Darwin could cost the federal government or an Australian business around $500 million as “the start of a negotiating point,” according to ASPI Executive Director Peter Jennings.

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The port was leased to Chinese company Landbridge in 2015 but is currently under review on the orders of the National Security Committee of Cabinet.

Discussing the possibility of a payout if the lease is ripped up, Mr Jennings said he isn’t sure exactly how much would need to be paid in compensation.

“The original lease for 99 years was just a shade over $500 million,” he told Sky News host Paul Murray.

“So I guess if there is going to be a payout, that might be the start of a negotiating point.

“It also comes down to what is the fair market value of the port, and it was claimed at the time that in fact the Chinese company significantly overbid the real value of the port in order to secure access to it.”

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