Australia's busiest container port leased for $7.3 billion

Markets Associated Press

An Australian-led consortium has won a 50-year lease on the country's busiest container port for 9.7 billion Australian dollars ($7.3 billion).

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Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said Monday that the Lonsdale consortium had secured the lease for the Port of Melbourne. The consortium includes multinational firm Global Infrastructure Partners LLC and Australia's sovereign wealth fund, among others.

Andrews said the deal would create thousands of jobs and boost investment in local infrastructure projects.

The lease is the latest in a series of port privatizations in Australia in recent years. Last year, the prime minister was forced to defend the leasing of the strategically important port of Darwin on the country's north coast to the Chinese government-linked Landbridge Group.