Prime Minister Scott Morrison has downplayed a Chinese language firm’s proposal to construct a brand new mega-city simply kilometres from Australian territory.
Leaked paperwork reveal a conceptual plan to construct a 100 sq. kilometre metropolis with a serious seaport, industrial space and free-trade zone on Papua New Guinea’s south coast.
The “New Daru City” can be constructed inside kilometres of Australian islands within the Torres Strait.
Morrison mentioned the bold plans have been “very speculative at this level”.
“I’m not stunned by it however I believe at this stage it might be finest to file it underneath ‘hypothesis’,” he advised reporters in Canberra on Friday.
A spokesman for PNG Prime Minister James Marape mentioned he was unaware of the undertaking however the nation wouldn’t flip away overseas funding, so lengthy as it complied with legal guidelines and benefited locals.
Australian safety companies have grown more and more involved about China’s curiosity in PNG, with the superpower intent on rising its strategic energy and financial affect within the area.
One other Chinese language firm plans to construct a $200 million fishing park in the identical impoverished province of PNG.
‘The identical web page’
“I’ve a really shut relationship with prime minister Marape as I’ve had with earlier prime ministers in Papua New Guinea,” Morrison mentioned.
“We recurrently talk about the assorted pressures in our area and I believe we’re very a lot on the identical web page about these points.”
Dwelling Affairs Minister Peter Dutton mentioned he was very eager to debate the proposal with the PNG authorities.
“We are going to take a look at it. I believe there are all types of sovereignty points and there are native points by way of landowners and land rights that I believe would supply a major hurdle,” he mentioned.
“So we are going to take a look at it intently, however Australia will at all times act in our greatest pursuits and we are going to search to assist our neighbours.”
The event plans would want to safe approval from native landholders and a number of layers of presidency.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg cautioned in opposition to leaping to conclusions concerning the Chinese language proposal.
“I’m not going to enter what our authorities is aware of about numerous issues,” he advised reporters in Melbourne.
“Our relationship with Papua New Guinea could be very sturdy, it’s cooperative, it’s multifaceted. And between Prime Minister Morrison and Prime Minister Marape, there may be fixed dialogue.”