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‘A manifestation of our sovereignty’: Senator Molan on Hong Kong’s bid for Australian gas pipelines

Luke Grant
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A proposed Hong Kong takeover of Australia’s biggest gas pipeline is eliciting major national security concerns.

CKI, a Hong Kong based firm, is looking to buy out Australia’s APA Group for a bid of $13 billion.  APA has a monopoly over the nation’s gas infrastructure, owning nearly two-thirds of all gas transmission pipelines in Australia. It’s thought handing over this ownership concentration to foreign hands could enfeeble our national security, making us vulnerable in times of international unrest.

“These are the total kilometres of Australia’s wires and pipelines CKI would control, either outright or in partnership, should it buy APA,” writes Senator Jim Molan in The Australian.

“For electricity transmission and distribution, 100% in Victoria, SA and the ACT. For gas transmission and distribution, 100% in NSW and the ACT, 99% in Victoria, 86% in SA, 78% in QLD.”

“Most Australians would find these figures absolutely confronting,” Molan tells Luke Grant.

“It’s a security issue.  I’m compelled to oppose the CKI attempt to acquire APA Group because it’s a manifestation of our sovereignty.”

“If someone owns it from overseas and they want to harm our use of gas or electricity at a critical time, they could initiate certain things from overseas and do that. At some stage, we’ll all act in our own interests.”

Though the ACCC approved the takeover, CKI’s bid is yet to front the Foreign Investment Review Board, who will assess the national security implications involved.

“I think they can do a good job on this and let’s hope they come up with the right answer.”

“We need foreign capital to come into this country.  But for critical infrastructure, it’s got to be in Australian control.”

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Luke Grant