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Senator Molan ‘uncomfortable’ at Hong Kong’s $13 bn bid for Australian gas network

Luke Grant

There are calls for Australia to block a Hong Kong company’s $13 billion bid to take over Australia’s largest gas pipeline company.

Industry sources say accepting the offer could see nearly 60 per cent of the gas pipeline market fall out of Australian hands. There are concerns this could place Australia in a potentially precarious position when it comes to national security.

Senator Jim Molan has reiterated these sentiments.

“I feel very uncomfortable about this, but I do have some trust in the Foreign Investment Review Board,” explains Molan.

“I believe there is an act of symbolism in this. We should own our critical infrastructure ourselves. Because for others to own it, the reality is, beyond the symbolism, they could control it in a tense situation.”

With the Chinese now owning the Port of Darwin under a 99-year lease, many are concerned the gas pipeline will be the next domino to fall in terms of critical infrastructure that becomes the subject of a foreign takeover.

But Molan is downplaying worry around China’s 99-year acquisition of the port.

“I’m not as worried as most people. There are many requirements I believe that have been put on the company that purchased it. These requirements go to the fact that an Australian should head it up, and that the proportion of the board should be Australian.”

“But if we want the port back at any stage and it’s in the interests of this nation to take it back, then under various legislation, we could take it back. They can’t take it away.”

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Luke Grant
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