Western Australia puts around $2bn in state-owned assets on chopping block

Western Australia puts around $2bn in state-owned assets on chopping block

Port Hedland’s Utah Point Bulk Handling facility is one of the assets up for sale.

The state of Western Australia announced Thursday it plans to sell about $2 billion worth of government-owned assets, including part of the Port Hedland shipping terminal, as its resource-heavy economy deals with the end of a decade-long mining boom.

This way the iron ore-rich state, where most of Australia's ore is mined, has become the latest of the country’s debt-laden regional governments to announce a selloff of state-owned infrastructure.

The move, Reuters report, will be followed by other unspecified sales of land and assets that could fetch between A$4 to A$5 billion.

Australian states are moving in greater numbers toward a grand selloff of government-owned assets ranging from ports to highways, as they scramble to raise as much as $300 billion to upgrade the nation's infrastructure.

Earlier this year, New South Wales sold a 99-year lease on Newcastle Port—the world's biggest—to a clutch of Chinese and local buyers for A$1.75 billion. That followed the sale last year of the state's Port Botany shipping-container facility.

In November, Queensland state sold the Port of Brisbane for A$2.3 billion to a consortium of pension and sovereign-wealth funds, followed this year by the sale of toll-road operator Queensland Motorways for A$7.06 billion.

Port Hedland’s Utah Point bulk handling facility is one of four berths owned by the Pilbara Ports Authority. It includes a ship loader, two stockyard product storage facilities and supporting infrastructure.