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Australia launches bidding process for the Port of Melbourne

Australia’s Victoria state government has opened the bidding process for a 50-year lease of the Port of Melbourne expected to increase the facilities’ efficiencies and competitiveness.

Interested parties will have to lodge responses to the Request for Expressions of Interest in the lease by Monday, April 18 (AEST), with the government expected to announce a preferred leaseholder by the end of 2016.

“We are moving to market quickly because of the strong bidder interest in the Port of Melbourne and we are confident the lease will deliver significant, long-term economic benefit to Victorians,” Tim Pallas, Victoria state treasurer, said in a statement.

The government, which will invite the shortlisted qualified parties to submit final proposals for the port following the first stage, expects the lease to improve the port and “reinforce Victoria’s position as the freight and logistics capital of the nation”.

Lease proceeds are set to be spent on the removal of 50 level crossings and the construction of key infrastructure initiatives across the state.

According to press agency Reuters, while Pallas previously said that the lease is likely to raise at least AUS$5.3bn, the Conservative opposition argued that the state could get as much as AUS$7bn.

The lease plan is part of the country’s government’s privatisation program, worth a total of AUS$100bn, to reduce debt and enhance Australia’s infrastructure.