A 99-year lease on the Port of Darwin held by a Chinese company won’t be scrapped after a federal government review found it was “not necessary” to do so.

The review’s findings come just weeks before Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is expected to travel to Beijing to meet with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping.

In 2015 the Turnbull government, in partnership with the NT government, awarded the $506 million lease to the Australian subsidiary of Chinese company Landbridge, which has reported links to the Chinese Communist Party.

The review, carried out by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, found monitoring mechanisms were “sufficient” and “robust” regulatory systems existed to manage any risks to critical infrastructure.

“As a result, it was not necessary to vary or cancel the lease,” the department said in a statement released on Friday afternoon.

“Australians can have confidence that their safety will not be compromised, while ensuring that Australia remains a competitive destination for foreign investment.

“The review considered the findings and outcomes of these previous assessments as well as considering whether risk management and mitigation arrangements are sufficient to protect Australia’s national security interests relating to the port.”

The federal government has accepted the review’s advice.

Victorian Liberal senator James Paterson criticised the outcome, arguing Australians deserved greater transparency surrounding the decision.

“[Australians] deserve answers as to why the PM’s previous concern about this issue has now evaporated,” Senator Paterson wrote in a post on X.

The review, which was established after the Albanese government came to office in 2022, follows ongoing calls from defence experts for the lease to be terminated on national security grounds.

An earlier review undertaken by the Defence Department and commissioned by the Morrison government similarly found there was no need to cancel or vary the lease.

In a scathing unanimous report released just prior to the 2022 election, federal parliament’s joint intelligence committee had called for the deal to scrapped under powers handed to the foreign minister.

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