critical infrastructure

Stephen Andrew statement on Australia’s critical infrastructure assets

As I mentioned in an earlier Post, the Federal Parliament has launched an inquiry into the “extent of common ownership of Australia’s publicly listed companies” amongst a small group of institutional investors, headed by BlackRock and Vanguard. The new Inquiry will be looking into a small group of investors who control and effectively own nearly all of Australia’s biggest companies.
In the process of doing so, I hope the Committee will also look into the ownership of Australia’s unlisted infrastructure assets, many of which are tightly held by a handful of hugely powerful and wealthy foreign consortiums and private equity trusts. They are making billions out of our assets, all whilst paying no tax and enjoying highly beneficial terms from agreements with government, all of which are ‘commercial in confidence’ and therefore hidden from the public.
The potential for anti-competitive pricing and collusion around such a tiny number of global investment and super trusts owning huge stakes in our state and national assets, is almost never mentioned by our leaders and mainstream media, let alone investigated. I am talking about infrastructure like our airports, ports, electricity grids, toll roads, bridges, rail networks and tunnels.
Earlier this year, the head of ASIO delivered an address on potential threats to Australian national security, with the majority of time taken up talking about the threat of ‘domestic’ right wing groups’ and ‘online’ extremism. Not once, did Australia’s top security chief mention the potential danger of having a significant amount of the country’s critical infrastructure assets under the control and management of a tiny group of privately owned, shadowy global ‘consortiums’.
This massive concentration of Australia’s key national assets and infrastructure in just a few, largely foreign, hands, seems a bigger security concern right now, than ‘online extremism’ – especially with all this talk by the World Economic Forum of a coming Cyber Attack.
The government tells us it wants Australians to submit identification before being allowed to use social media – Well, how about it show some consistency for a change and set up a 10 point identification system requiring these private consortiums who own all our key national assets and infrastructure, to disclose exactly who their majority shareholders and ‘ultimate beneficiaries’ are?
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