The National Farmers Federation has welcomed yesterday’s release of the registry of foreign ownership of agricultural land, but has urged the Federal Government to provide more detail.
The report (click here to access Beef Central’s original report) shows the United Kingdom as the leading overseas owner of farming land in Australia, followed by the United States, the Netherlands, Singapore and China.
NFF chief executive Tony Mahar said transparency was key to addressing community concerns around foreign investment in agriculture, so as to fill the severe capital shortfall faced by the sector.
“The NFF has long called for a register of this nature to provide firm data around the foreign ownership debate and we most certainly welcome the release of this report,” Mr Mahar said.
“In saying that, we believe more detail is required than what has been offered today, particularly in terms of the regional location of foreign-owned properties and the nature of the investment entity. It is not necessary to list each and every property, as suggested by the Labor party, however simply providing State and Territory overviews should be the starting point,” he said.
“Furthermore, we want to see more detailed information by commodity and have information presented on the proportion of land either partially or wholly owned by foreign investors.”
Mr Mahar said foreign investment was an important ingredient in helping agriculture extract the full value of thriving market demand for Australian food and fibre.
“Australia needs foreign investment generally, and our deteriorating public finances only make this reliance greater,” he said.
“Our industry is in need of capital to invest in supply chain assets so as to build production and profitability at this time of immense growth opportunity. For this to happen, the Government must make available as much information as possible to build community comfort with foreign investment, provide more clarity surrounding the Foreign Investment Review Board approval process and have adequate measures in place to ensure foreign interests are on a level playing field with Australian producers.”
CCA view seeks more clarity
Cattle Council of Australia welcomed the release of the registry of foreign ownership of agricultural land, but expressed concern about lack of detail or disclosure in certain areas.
“We have been vocal supporters of foreign investment in agriculture, particularly in regards to supporting the beef industry,” CCA chief executive Jed Matz said.
“Investment is crucial to the future of agriculture, foreign or domestic.”
“Although this report is a welcome look into the state of investment in agriculture, we are concerned about the lack of information presented on the proportion of land, either partially or wholly owned by foreign government investors. This percentage is required in the Land Registration Form, but it is unclear how partially-owned lands contributes to the full amount calculated by FIRB,” Mr Matz said.
Cattle Council continued to call for more clarity on the Foreign Investment Review Board approval process, including the national interest test, he said.
“More clarity would help attract future foreign investors into the Australian beef industry and provide peace of mind for the wider community. Transparency is key for industry in all matters, particularly foreign investment,” Mr Matz said.
Sources: NFF, CCA.
The area owned by foreign companies is not the issue. The real issue is the extent to which a small number of foreign owners, and some vertically integrated Australian companies, control major procurement and processing facilities in all sectors of the agricultural industry and how that is impacting on prices paid to Australian farmers and whether those entities are contributing to the Australian economy by paying taxes,including GST
Labor’s on the nail here-list every piece of dirt under foreign ownership. Also list all Australian ownership in China and the Netherlands etc..!!