INFRASTRUCTURE HOLDINGS — APA GROUP — TAKEOVER BID
1021. Hon CHARLES SMITH to the minister representing the
I refer to the reported $13 billion
takeover bid by Chinese Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd of Australian-owned
energy infrastructure company APA Group, which currently operates and maintains
around 3 500 kilometres of gas transmission pipelines in Western Australia.
(1) Does the
state government recognise that Chinese companies differ from other foreign
interests in that they are either owned by or subject to the political control
of the Chinese central government?
(2) Does the
state government acknowledge that the takeover of APA by CKI would further
expose WA to threats of foreign espionage, sabotage and coercion?
(3) If yes to
(2), has the state government raised such concerns with the commonwealth
government or the Foreign Investment Review Board?
(4) Does the
state government have any policy at all to encourage the retention of critical
infrastructure in local hands and limit further asset predation by interests
linked to Beijing?
STEPHEN DAWSON replied:
I thank the honourable member for
some notice of the question.
(1) The proposal
by Chinese Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd was subject to a thorough
review by the commonwealth Foreign Investment Review Board, the Australian
Competition and Consumer Commission and the Department of Home Affairs'
Critical Infrastructure Centre. The state government is confident this review
process provides sufficient assessment of risk of an investment proposal
regardless of the country of origin.
(2) No. The
takeover proposal by CKI includes a court-enforceable undertaking that it would
divest APA's gas pipeline assets in Western Australia—namely,
the Parmelia gas pipeline, the goldfields gas pipeline, the Kalgoorlie to
Kambalda pipeline and the Mondarra gas storage facility. The Australian
Competition and Consumer Commission provided its approval in September 2018 on
(3) The state
government provided comment across a range of issues through the Department of
Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation as part of the Foreign Investment Review
Board's consultation process. The issue of foreign influence was one of
many aspects considered. The final approval of CKI's acquisition of APA
is still awaiting the decision of the Foreign Investment Review Board.
(4) There are no
obstacles to the retention of critical infrastructure by local companies in Western
Australia. Appropriate regulatory
mechanisms, such as the commonwealth Security of Critical Infrastructure Act
2018, already exist to ensure the operation of critical infrastructure
in Western Australia is not compromised, irrespective of ownership.