Super funds call for tougher rules for foreign investment in ag

Beef Central, 14/06/2017

INDUSTRY superannuation funds have called for tougher foreign investment rules around Australian agriculture as they seek to ramp up their investment in the sector.

Industry Super Australia, which represents not-for-profit industry funds, said quality Australian farming assets were being cherry-picked by foreign investors, the ABC reported this afternoon.

Stephen Anthony

Chief economist Stephen Anthony called for a government register of foreign investment in Australian farm land.

“The first thing we want Treasury to do is to just keep a time series of agricultural land and to keep tabs on who owns what, with the assistance of the Australian Taxation Office,” Dr Anthony said.

However, Dr Anthony noted that Industry Super Australia was not opposed to foreign investment, but wanted to see more offshore money going into new developments.

“We also want to encourage foreign investment in greenfield activities such as, for example, northern development,” he told ABC.

“What we are calling for here is a really strategic approach.”

Farms need to become more investment-ready

Industry Super Australia wants to encourage industry super funds to increase their investment in agriculture.

The sector currently has investments worth $1.6 billion in the Australian agricultural industry.

Dr Anthony told the ABC that Australian farms and agriculture companies needed to become more investment-ready so investors could undertake proper due diligence.

He said an independent survey of farm performance and infrastructure audits was needed to measure rates of return across crop and livestock producers.

The former Treasury and Department of Finance official said government data could be drawn upon to provide independent assessments of the commercial value of the agricultural industry.

Dr Anthony also called for the establishment of a regional development bank to advise rural producers and provide long-term finance.


Source: ABC




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  1. Wayne Mactier, 22/06/2017

    What are they trying to achieve. Drive away overseas investors from a sector they have not bothered to understand. So they think they might invest but only if they can do it at a discount by locking out the overseas investors that have underpinned Australian Agriculture for a century or more. Give us a break.

  2. Eion John Allister, 19/06/2017

    Industry Super Funds are essentially arms of trade unions and with union membership of around 10% in the private sector workforce their influence is pretty low. They sit on huge amounts of funds and have a pretty secure income base due to tie ups with Enterprise Bargaining Agreements and default Super accounts for workers covered by these agreements even if they are not union members. What better way to achieve influence than by having a pretty big tug on the purse strings of major players in Agriculture especially when you don’t have leverage via union membership in the workforce. Not a good idea to let a fox into the hen house.

  3. Jill Williams, 18/06/2017

    Offshore investors and Superfunds read the market, and have been investing in agriculture, while Australian Super Funds missed the boat. Now they want assistance from government to catch up. Snooze you lose…
    Foreign investors occupy 13% of Australian agricultural land, that leaves 87% for Australian Super Funds.
    Let’s not forget it was Australian Super Funds who owned and sold Pacific Hydro… a Chinese State owned enterprise.

  4. Michael J. Vail, 18/06/2017

    To, The Australian Superannuation Funds: What are you really trying to say?

    You have stood back for years, when you might have partnered in JV’s and provided capital to assist growth in infrastructure and new markets in this space.

    You may have either missed the boat: or, you may have to wait for the market correction to buy at a reasonable value.

    Where were the men of vision in this very protected industry at that time?

    Did he actually say, “Cherry pick … ?”

    For goodness sake …

  5. Kevin Markey, 15/06/2017

    I think its a bit rich for Australian super funds to want preferential investment laws when they have sat on their hands for many years and not invested in Agriculture when foreign super funds have seen the investment potential and dived in! Now that Agriculture appears to have a brighter prospects at least for the short to medium term they want a magic carpet ride from our Parliament!! This must mean that investment in Agriculture must be equivalent or a better prospect than the infrastructure projects they usually invest in.

  6. Danny Thomas, 14/06/2017

    Cherry picked??

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