Former Treasurer of Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) Dave Tollner has defended the Government’s decision to lease the Port of Darwin to a Chinese Company.

“It’s a Port for goodness sakes I mean… what security risks can there be in this Port?”

The NT Government announced in October 2015 that it would lease the Port to the Chinese Company Landbridge Group, for 99 years.

Nick Champion, a Member of the opposition Australian Labour Party (ALP), on Monday called for the deal to be torn up and the Port to be nationalised, citing security concerns.

In response, Tollner said that security issues were being overblown and that it made commercial sense to open trading opportunities with China.

“The fact is we need to be on a trade route. The Chinese obviously are promising a major trade route going right past our front door here in Darwin in the Belt & Road Initiative,” he said.

“The question people have to ask is do we keep continually pouring more and more taxpayers dollars into the Northern Territory or somewhere along the line do we say look, you’ve got to stand on your own two feet, you’ve got to develop your own industry.”

“It’s a Port for goodness sakes I mean… what security risks can there be in this Port?”