Abbot Point Coal Terminal.
Abbot Point Coal Terminal. Lee Constable

Abbot Pt lease to pay for recovery

A 99-YEAR lease of Abbot Point Coal Terminal will help pay for Queensland's recovery after a summer of natural disasters.

The $1.829billion deal between the Queensland Government and Mundra Port Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of the Adani Group, was announced yesterday by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.

Ms Bligh, also Minister for Reconstruction, said that, as promised, the proceeds would be set aside to fund Queensland's share of the state's massive flood and cyclone recovery bill.

“Following the catastrophic impact of the floods and Cyclone Yasi, the Government announced the proceeds from the lease of the Abbot Point Coal Terminal would help pay Queensland's share of the recovery costs,” she said.

“The transaction has delivered proceeds well above initial expectations of $1.5billion. This is a huge vote of confidence in the Queensland economy and in Queensland's future.

“This piece of infrastructure is designed purely to help coal companies make a profit. Taxpayers have done their bit to establish the terminal and entice investment, now it's time for the private sector to take over,” Ms Bligh said.

“Because this a long-term lease, taxpayers will retain ownership of the port land and existing infrastructure such as the jetty and wharf.”

Representatives of Mundra Port signed the lease documents in Brisbane yesterday and advised the Indian Stock Exchange.

Mundra Port is the Australian subsidiary of Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone Ltd, which developed and manages the largest privately developed port in India and forms part of the Adani Group.

The Indian-based Adani Group has substantial global interests in power generation, mining, oil and gas exploration and development and operations. It has recently shown its willingness to invest in Queensland, proceeding with plans for a $6.5billion coal project in the Galilee Basin.

Acting Treasurer Rachel Nolan said Mundra Port had significant experience in developing and operating ports and bulk cargo terminals in India.

“The company is focused on creating, owning and operating common user port facilities and providing efficient services,” Ms Nolan said.

“Mundra Port is also focused on expanding the future capacity of Abbot Point in line with rail upgrades and increased demand from port users.”

The Federal Government's Foreign Investment Review Board has approved the transaction and, under the deal, the State retains ownership of the port land, associated strategic infrastructure such as the jetty and wharves, and will continue to facilitate future private sector-funded expansion of export infrastructure within the broader port precinct.

Ms Nolan said the North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation would remain as authority for the Port of Abbot Point, responsible for its ongoing safety, security, efficiency and development.

No State Government employees are moving to the purchaser.

The port has long been operated privately by Xstrata, who will continue as operators.

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