Liberal Senator alarmed China has bought an island next to WA military training area
The Foreign Investment Review Board is now obviously influenced by Liberal or Labor politicians and should be abolished and replaced with a parliamentary committee including independents
A decision to grant a Chinese linked company a mining licence on a remote West Australian island, close to a military training area, is raising concerns inside Defence and federal government ranks.
- A Hong Kong-based company was last year granted a 12-year lease of abandoned mining operations on Cockatoo Island
- The Foreign Investment Review Board examined the deal, but security officials have privately expressed concerns
- Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells says the leasing to a Chinese linked company shows current laws are “defective”
In October, the private Hong Kong-based entity was announced as the new owner of abandoned iron ore operations on Cockatoo Island in WA’s Kimberley region, next to the Yampi Sound Defence Training Area.
Cockatoo Island is roughly 2000 kilometres from Perth and boasts an airstrip which was used to service past mining projects as well as a resort built by infamous businessman Alan Bond during the 1980s.
According to Western Australia’s Department of Mines registry the new lease approved last year for ‘Cockatoo Island Mining Pty Ltd’ will expire in 2032.
Cockatoo Island Mining’s directors say they want to “establish a world class and responsible mining operation, within an area that has demonstrated high-grade iron ore deposits,” after the previous owner went into administration in 2015.
Company documents submitted to the Australian Security and Investments Commission confirm directors of the Cockatoo Island Mining venture reside in Australia, India, Hong Kong as well as mainland China.
The ABC has confirmed the 2020 takeover was examined by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) but the deal has still alarmed some federal government figures who believe it is similar to the controversial lease of Darwin Port to a Chinese state-owned company.
Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, who previously served as Minister for International Development and the Pacific, has told the ABC she is alarmed at the deal.
“The Cockatoo Island ‘transaction’ is yet another example of why acquisition of strategic assets from governments in Australia by ‘private companies’ with links to Beijing should come within the scope of both FIRB and foreign relation legislation.”
“This ‘transaction’ is another glaring example of our defective federal laws,” the NSW Senator argues.
Posted on March 13, 2021, in General, Labor Party, Liberal National Party, Liberal Party of Australia and tagged CCP, Chinese militray, Cockatoo Island, FIRB, iron ore, SAS. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.