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Melbourne port leased for 50 years at $7.3bn to Lonsdale Consortium

Australia’s state of Victoria has inked a AUD9.7bn ($7.3bn) deal to sell its 50-year lease on the port of Melbourne to the Lonsdale Consortium, so as to use the proceeds to remove 50 congested level crossings and to create thousands of jobs.

The Lonsdale Consortium, comprising of the Future Fund, QIC, GIP and QMERS signed the lease of the port’s commercial operations for a 50-year term. Melbourne port is Australia’s biggest container and cargo port.

“This is a AUD9.7bn vote of confidence in the Victorian economy,” said the state premier Daniel Andrews. “We promised to lease the port, get rid of Victoria’s most deadly and congested level crossings and create thousands of jobs, and that’s exactly what we are doing.”

Ten per cent of the lease proceeds will be invested in regional and rural infrastructure projects, totalling more than AUD970m.

A new AUD200m Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund has also been established to drive economic growth in our regions, boost exports and support Victorian farmers from paddock to port.

The Victorian state government will retain responsibility for the harbour master, station pier, relevnt safety and environmental regulation, waterside emergency management and marine pollution response.

During the lease term, Lonsdale will maintain access to public walkways and bike paths for community use.

Commercial and recreational vessels’ access will not be affected by the lease, with the port being returned to public hands at the end of the lease.

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