Chinese state-owned firms will be welcomed to buy Australian government assets in an upcoming sale worth more than Aus$40bn (US$42bn), a top official said yesterday amid calls for broader ties. Barry O’Farrell, premier of New South Wales state, told The Australian newspaper there would be a suite of assets open to Chinese bids when the official ‘Infrastructure NSW’ portfolio is unveiled in September. “When I was here last year there was interest in investing in infrastructure and whatever assets we might have up for sale,” he said from Guangzhou. O’Farrell is in China holding a week-long investment roadshow ahead of the release of the Infrastructure NSW report, which will detail government assets for sale which he estimated to be worth at least A$40bn. “There is an anticipation (in China) about the Infrastructure NSW report,” he said, adding that current rules would permit bids on items including electricity infrastructure and ports. “I have said you could spend $40bn in Sydney without touching the sides.” The move follows a controversial speech by Australia’s opposition leader Tony Abbott in China last week describing investment by foreign governments as “rarely” in Canberra’s interest. From gulf times.