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PM confirms review of controversial Darwin port lease

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has confirmed a review into the decision to lease the Port of Darwin to a Chinese company will go ahead.

During this year's federal election campaign, Albanese criticised the controversial 2015 lease of the port to Landbridge for $506 million.

The former Morrison government last year ordered a Defence Department review into the matter but it determined there were insufficient national security grounds to scrap the lease.

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But Albanese, speaking in Darwin alongside NT Chief Minister Natasha Fyles, indicated a new review would be held.

"What I've said is what I said prior to the election. I will do what I said I will do. We will have a review of the circumstances of the port," he said.

"The chief minister is conscious of the fact that we will do that."

The former NT government's decision seven years ago to lease the port to China's Landbridge in a 99-year deal sparked concerns in Australia and overseas because it gave operational control of the strategic port to a foreign company.

Among the experts who raised concerns was Charles Sturt University Professor of public ethics Clive Hamilton.

"Any Chinese company, if instructed by Beijing, must engage in spying or other nefarious activity," he said last year.

"Landbridge will have no choice."

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The agreement was struck as diplomatic relations between Canberra and Beijing began to freeze.

The US, which deploys hundreds of troops to Darwin every year, was also unhappy about the deal.

The then-president Barack Obama expressed US concerns to the prime minister at the time, Malcolm Turnbull.



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