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China wants our gas network

China wants our gas network

The word China has become synonymous haemorrhoids—a real pain in the arse! Almost every day is another story about China pushing its expansionist agenda into Australia. At least PM Morrison is starting to move against such moves before he has another loaded diaper to clean up left there by his predecessor. MM has been banging the drum about CK Asset Holdings Limited’s grab on our resources for ages. Read here.

A multi-billion-dollar Chinese-backed takeover of more than half of Australia’s gas pipeline network looks likely to be blocked by the Morrison Government. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said his “preliminary view” was that CK Asset Holdings Limited’s proposed $13 billion purchase of APA Group was against the national interest. Mr Frydenberg’s decision is awkwardly timed for the Federal Government, given Foreign Minister Marise Payne arrives today in Beijing ahead of a meeting with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

Source: ABC

Federal Government set to block Chinese company’s takeover of Australian gas network

“I have formed this view on the grounds that it would result in an undue concentration of foreign ownership by a single company group in our most significant gas transmission business,” the Treasurer said in a statement.

“I intend to make a final decision under the formal process within two weeks.

“My preliminary view reflects the size and significance of APA Group.

“It is about the extent to which the proposal is consistent with Australia’s national interest.”

APA Group owns 15,000 kilometres of pipelines, or about 56 per cent of Australia’s gas pipeline transmission system, including 74 per cent of New South Wales and Victorian pipelines.

Infographic: A map showing APA Group’s gas assets across Australia. (Supplied: APA Group)

The takeover had been approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, but Mr Frydenberg acknowledged the “concentration of foreign ownership” was not a question considered by the watchdog.

Mr Frydenberg said his decision was made in close consultation with the Foreign Investment Review Board, which was split on the proposed sale but expressed concerns about CKI’s asset build-up.

‘Exquisite timing’ for Foreign Minister’s visit

The announcement was made after the close of trade, but on the same day Senator Payne was due to arrive in China.

Her visit is the first by an Australian foreign minister in almost three years and signalled a thawing of relations made frosty by China’s anger at debate in Australia about foreign ownership and claims of foreign interference.

One of Australia’s leading security analysts, Peter Jennings from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, predicted Senator Payne would face some “surface level” unhappiness in Beijing.

“The timing is exquisite, there’s no doubt about it,” he said.

“But I doubt that this is going to derail Marise Payne’s visit and that’s because no-one would have been more surprised than the Chinese had the sale been allowed to go ahead.”

Mr Jennings had been a vocal critic of the proposed deal and said today’s decision restored his faith in the ability of the Government to make “reasoned” policy decisions.

“I think increasingly what governments are worried about around the world actually is about the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to various forms of cyber hacking,” he said.

“So I’m certain this would have played an important part in Government decision-making.”

Two years ago, some of the companies in the Chinese and Hong Kong-based CK consortium were blocked from buying Ausgrid, the owner of the electricity poles and wires in NSW.

In a statement, a spokesperson said the consortium did not consider Mr Frydenberg’s view of the deal to be reflective of the CK Group itself:

“The CK Group notes the specific reference in today’s announcement that the Treasurer’s preliminary view reflects the size and significance of the APA Group, which is by far the largest gas transmission system owner in Australia; and that the preliminary view is not an adverse reflection on the CK Group.”

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • pattoh 08/11/2018, 6:10 am

    There is a very close relationship between APA & AGL. Anybody who watches the spikes in spot prices of power & gas, would be at best cynical about who is gaming the system & who learned their schemes from the ENRON Play Book.

    Anybody old enough to remember the result of the Longford Gas Explosion & the cost & difficulties which were associated with it in the late 90s, would understand how critical economically a continuous supply is.

    However now that we have our “wonderful GREEN windmills & CSPs” the gas supply has become many orders more critical than just cold showers.

    The gas reticulation system supplies the short cycle Gas turbine network which barely keeps the electricity grid from collapse.

    No one is brave enough to count the ongoing cost to the economy of the load shedding occurring in the economy as it is.

    Over the last few summers, the inter-connectors between the eastern states & the gas turbine system together were almost certainly the ONLY reason we escaped a grid collapse.

    Even though Wentworth was Green/ LBGTQ>>>>>>>>Z/ cycle path/ Shardi-Lart silly enough to challenge Darwin’s Theory, it should not automatically mean the peasants are too stupid to join the dots.

    Do a thought experiment:-

    A grid collapse will be far more than a blackout.

    How long will civil society last without:-

    electricity
    water
    sewerage
    liquid fuels
    fresh food
    dry food
    all transport

    & of course comms > “fondle slabs & Youtube”

    Longford was a single event.

    What could be the advantage to the owners of critical infrastructure of collapsing a society & economy? Who wins???????

    Get up your representatives & keep the bastards uncomfortable & honest!

    It is their primary role to keep society safe!

    PS. I am heartened that Marise Payne may feel a bit uncomfortable. I’ll bet a few in the ADF may be of a similar disposition. Welcome to the real world.

  • luk1955 08/11/2018, 7:08 am

    Maybe scomo is aware that CONSTITUTIONALLY our natural resources belong to the people, not to corporations. And that selling out to the chinks is seditious and treasonous behaviour. Maybe he is now aware that the Constitution applies to all facets of our lives, not just sec 44 for the pollies.

  • Bushkid 08/11/2018, 7:57 am

    So this mob already own 56% of the pipeline network anyhow?

    How the heck did that happen? Who let it happen? Who made sure it happened – and how much were they paid to do so?

    Some things just should never be in the hands of private companies, and more particularly should never be in the hands of foreign owned ones; and more particularly still, should never be in the hands of foreign government owned companies! What is so hard to understand about that?

    • TommyGun 08/11/2018, 8:26 am

      BK, as I understand it, the chings (“CK Asset Holdings”) are trying to buy out APA Group, which owns 56% of Australia’s gas pipelines.
      So they don’t own anything yet, but they will own 56% if Frydenberg does not block it.

      They just want to buy ANYTHING of value in this country.
      I flew into Hobart yesterday and half the bloody passengers were gawking chings who couldn’t speak a word of “Engrish”. I bet they are all cashed up, looking for whatever asset they can get their mitts on.

    • Neville 08/11/2018, 10:03 pm

      Yes, BK, some things should NEVER be owned by a private company. The ideological lefty-greenies, and the conservative-free-marketers would disagree very strongly on where the dividing line should be – if at all! But simply on the grounds of the economic fundamentals of the basic resources of society, stuff that’s basic to societal existence need to be in the hands of the state, being of course collectively all individual members of our society who permit ‘the state’ to act on their behalf, and under their authorisation.

  • crankykoala 08/11/2018, 8:52 am

    Didn’t Pauline Hanson way back in the 1990’s say something along the lines of Australia being overrun by Asians? Now 2018 and the Chinese have been and are flooding into the country. And, the Chinese communist government is making every effort, through bogus companies, to buy every Australian asset that should never be in the hands of a foreign power. The port of Darwin has gone to the chows, commo Andrews is doing secret deals with the chinks, agricultural land has gone and so it goes on. Now think ahead about 30/50 years, how do you see Australia? Controlled by the Chinks or the muzzies, either way the Australia most of us had the privilege of growing up in is going, going, GONE.

  • Penguinite 08/11/2018, 8:52 am

    Ditto my comments in the preceding item! We’re being taken for mugs and not just by the Chinese. Labor and the Greens are hot contenders too!

  • DT 08/11/2018, 2:49 pm

    http://www.apga.org.au

    The gas pipeline network is privately owned.

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