The escalating tensions with China has exposed just how tight the Asian superpower’s grip is on the Australian economy, both in terms of trade and its ownership of important local assets.
As Beijing becomes increasingly belligerent toward Australia, the latter’s heavy reliance upon Chinese money has been exposed as vulnerability instead of a strength.
China now owns key ports, mines, agricultural land, dairy processors, valuable real estate, state-sponsored schools, plus water and energy companies.
The rosy days of 2015 – when the Northern Territory government decided to lease the Port of Darwin to Chinese-owned company Landbridge for 99 years – now seem long gone, but such deals cannot be undone.
The controversial $500million deal was called into question at the time by then US President Barack Obama.
Northern Territory Labor MP Luke Gosling said the lease is a concern because all Chinese companies – even those privately owned – are ‘still accountable to Beijing’, especially one that owns critical infrastructure abroad.
He wrote in an article for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute that the deal was less about business and more about Chinese strategic interests – and the notorious Belt and Road Initiative.
The global development plan is a key policy of President Xi Jinping and China aims to build and own infrastructure in as many countries throughout the world as possible to increase those nations’ dependence on China