National security review of Darwin Port to remain secret, but Defence releases ‘talking points’

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A national security review of a Chinese-owned company’s lease of Darwin Port will remain secret, after the Defence Department refused a Freedom of Information request for its findings.

Instead, a series of “talking points” given to the former Coalition government have been released, shedding light on the range of questions it expected to face, and how they should be answered.

Chinese-owned company Landbridge signed a 99-year lease for the strategically important asset in 2015, prompting security concerns about the $500 million arrangement.

In May last year — amid escalating tensions with the Chinese government — the then Defence Minister Peter Dutton confirmed the National Security Committee of Cabinet had tasked his department with providing new security advice, and assessing the implications of the controversial lease. 

Liberal leader Peter Dutton, from the side, speaking to the media with trees in the background
Mr Dutton confirmed the 99-year lease was under review in May last year. (ABC News: Lucas Hill)

Seven months later, in late December, media reports suggested Defence had identified no concerns sufficient to revoke the lease.



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