Australia's Victoria state government said it may sell Port of Melbourne, the country's largest container and general cargo port, continuing a rush by states to sell major assets to fund new infrastructure projects.
Victorian Treasurer Michael O'Brien said the government will commission a scoping study into the potential sale of Port of Melbourne and a second port, in a deal local media said may net about A$5 billion ($4.5 billion). The study will be completed before the May state budget.
State governments are selling ports, power stations and roads to fund billions of dollars worth of new infrastructure. New South Wales state sold Port Botany and Port Kembla a year ago for A$5 billion and hopes to sell Port of Newcastle in 2014 for an expected A$700 million.
The Queensland state government has said it may sell its Townsville and Gladstone ports plus CS Energy and Stanwell energy generators.
"We must consider all the complexities relating to the future growth, demand, management and ownership of Victoria's ports," O'Brien said in a statement on Wednesday.
"There is a real potential to leverage commercial interest in Victoria's ports to generate significant opportunities to fund new infrastructure."
The scoping study will consider the economic and commercial value of Port of Melbourne and Port of Hastings, Victoria's second largest state-owned port, and their future dependance on road and rail networks.
Reporting By Byron Kaye