Australia to vet infrastructure investment for geopolitical risks

Australia will weigh long-term geopolitical considerations when it vets proposals by foreigners to buy critical infrastructure assets such as power grids and ports, the government said on Tuesday.

[SYDNEY] Australia will weigh long-term geopolitical considerations when it vets proposals by foreigners to buy critical infrastructure assets such as power grids and ports, the government said on Tuesday.

Foreign investment in Australian infrastructure assets has become an increasingly contentious issue since the 2015 sale of the Port of Darwin to Chinese government-affiliated interests sparked a backlash over the security implications and even a rebuke from US government officials.

Last month, the Australia announced the creation of a new critical infrastructure centre to oversee sensitive assets.

In a discussion paper on the new body, the government said it was concerned a hostile foreign actor could deliberately disrupt supply or destroy services for strategic or economic gain, or use its leverage to influence government decision-making or policy.

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