Foreign ownership of agricultural land is a topic that has been widely discussed at our Annual General Conferences and now it has become a focal point in the recent Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.
In 2012, there was a call at Conference to lower the threshold above which purchases must be assessed by the Foreign Investment Review Board, as well as a call for a foreign land ownership register. At our most recent Conference, there was an urgency motion regarding the sale of the Kidman and Co. assets, which cover 1.6% of the State. The NSW Nats passed a motion to formally oppose the sale to any foreign government state owned enterprise.
In the recent Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper foreign investment has been addressed. It outlines that while the Government welcomes foreign investment, a screening process will occur to ensure it is not contrary to Australia’s national interests. It has addressed calls from the National Party, delivering a more effective screening threshold for foreign investment by reducing the threshold from $252 million to $15 million.
A register for foreign ownership of agricultural land has also been established. As of 1 July, information on all new foreign investment in agricultural land will be collected, regardless of value.
Learn more on the White Paper here: http://agwhitepaper.agriculture.gov.au/white-paper