Chinese port owners, now US nuke bombers?

p2314-US-bombersThis LETTER TO THE EDITOR comes to us as there are reports that the US Airforce may receive permission to operate heavy bombers that may carry nuclear weapons out of Tindal and Darwin airports. Simultaneously, 20 minutes’ drive from the Darwin airport, a Chinese company with undisputed links to the Chinese military is settling in to run the Darwin port over which it has received a 99-year lease from the Giles Government without any prior notice to the people of the Northern Territory. The Chinese military is currently undertaking activities which present a significant risk of conflict in the South China Sea.

 

Sir – A Senate committee scrutinising the lease of Port Darwin to the Chinese Landbridge Group has described the lease as being as ‘’clear as the mud on the bottom of the harbour”.

 

The NT Government has repeatedly claimed that it received $506 million from the 99 year lease of the port. The official lease documents however have revealed that the figure was a mere $390 million, a shortfall of $116 million. After allowing for a reported $20 million payout to a consultancy firm for organizing the lease, there is still a discrepancy of nearly $100 million.

 

Landbridge immediately subleased the port to another Chinese firm for $21 million per year, indexed annually, for 99 years, in what has been described by legal experts as a classic tax minimisation scheme. This would provide Landbridge with in excess of $2 billion, excluding indexation figures, over the lease term, five times the amount received by the NT Government.

 

The port earned the government $15 million last financial year. If it had remained in government hands, and assuming the same profitability rate in future, the NT would have earned $1.5 billion over a 99 year period of time.

 

It is little wonder that the Landbridge directors are laughing all the way to the bank at the stupidity of the present NT Country Liberal Government.

 

At the risk of sounding xenophobic, it is likely that the NT in future years will see Chinese owned and staffed cattle stations, using Chinese made trucks to transport Australian cattle over Australian taxpayer funded roads to a Chinese port to be loaded by Chinese waterside workers onto Chinese ships bound for China where Chinese accountants can juggle figures to make it appear that there are no profits made in Australia and therefore no taxation revenue for the Australian Government.

 

Quite apart from the extremely poor economics of the deal for Territorians, the leasing of the port gives Landbridge control of shipping traffic, including Australian and US ships on military manoeuvres.

 

The head of ASIO, Dundan Lewis, informed the Senate that staff members had not “reviewed defence safeguards in relation to the disposal of the port but had accepted advice from other officials”.

 

Defence analyst and Executive Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Peter Jennings has heavily criticised the NT Government and the Federal agencies that allowed the lease to be signed. He went on to say that “the deal slipped through the cracks and everything ASIO has done since has been designed the mask the fact”.

 

Senator Xenophon said: “I can’t believe that Defence and even ASIO waved this lease through given that the Defence White Paper hadn’t been released when the deal was done.” He went on to say: “It seems ASIO is taking its cues less from James Bond and more from Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd in Spies Like Us.”

 

Although China has become Australia’s largest trading partner, tensions between the two nations have been building up in recent times, particularly over the South China Sea issue where intimidation tactics have been used.

 

For the NT Government to lease a vital strategic defence asset to China at such a time is an action that verges on treason.

 

Bruce Francais

Katherine

 

 

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6 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Phil Walcott
    Posted March 13, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Yes, Bruce … if you have the time and energy, contest the August election as an independent.
    You clearly have the wisdom, compassion and integrity required.
    With the help of Peter and others, you would represent a formidable option to the status quo.

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  2. Ian Rennie
    Posted March 12, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Yes China is getting quite a foothold in Australia thanks to NT and Federal governments.
    Hang on, I thought our politicians were employed by the Australian public not the Chinese military.
    Maybe it is a good idea for the Yanks to have their heavy gear at Tindal, maybe a few tens of thousand troops as well, after all they will spend over a 99yr period a lot more than the Chinese are paying for Darwin harbour whilst keeping a bit of a check on the Chinese push.

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  3. Bruce Francais
    Posted March 9, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Thanks for the kudos Peter. As you suggested, I dropped anchor in Ktown a long time ago and haven’t felt like pulling it up until recently under the Giles administration.
    Penguins, Brisbane Line and low-level bush cops yes but lunacy is a term you could use for Giles and his cronies. Alternately you may use traitors.
    When Tindal RAAF Base was being developed in the mid eighties, a high ranking defence official said that Australia in future years would not be endangered by hostile penguins swimming up from the South Pole and stated that defence installations would have to be in the north at places like Darwin and Tindal.
    It’s a pity that Giles can’t understand this. Of course he shafted Terry Mills so it should not come as any great surprise that he is now prepared to shaft the nation’s defence policies.

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  4. Peter
    Posted March 9, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Sage words from a wise man.
    Malcolm Turnbull visited Adelaide yesterday and announced he had found a couple of hundred million at the bottom of his sock drawer to turn that city into the headquarters of defence capability, or some such tosh.
    I had not realised penguins posed such a grave danger to national security.
    Was it a desperately expensive attempt in an election year to maybe buy some votes in a place where they are on the nose or an admission that the Federal Government’s only strategy against an increasingly disturbing China is once again embracing the Brisbane Line?
    Whatever your conspiracy of choice, however yellow your peril may appear, it is a fundamental tenet that Darwin must always be the cornerstone of our national defence.
    To put something that important under the control of a rag-tag gaggle of failed real estate agents, buffalo shooters, low-level bush cops, kiddy cops, dog catchers and their ilk is just as crazy as giving it to the unions to run.
    Bruce, you appear to have dropped anchor for a while in Katherine – I suppose even highly intelligent people can be afforded moments of lunacy.
    But for God’s sake do something.
    The only way out for the Territory is to get some smart people to run it for a change, people who know the Territory and understand it and are neither there for masters elsewhere nor their own wallet.
    Run as an independent. I’ll help and you may be surprised how many others will, too.

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  5. Warren Who?
    Posted March 9, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Short term gain long term pain.

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  6. Hal Duell
    Posted March 9, 2016 at 8:48 am

    Nukes in Darwin? No problem.
    Waste in Alice? Big problem.
    Go figure.

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