Friday, December 12, 2014

Register of Foreign Land Ownership Delay

I am concerned that the Australian Government's Register of Foreign Land Ownership has been delayed. This is something Australian people tell me they want, and Australian Governments regularly promise, but which never seems to happen.

Recently I visited Colac to discuss with Colac dairy farmers their concern at the prospect of foreign large scale purchases of dairy farms in South-West Victoria. The point they made to me was that if a foreign company buys Victorian farmland, brings in foreign workers to produce the milk, exports the product to foreign consumers, and the profits also go offshore, how do Victorian communities benefit? What kind of future does this provide for our young people?

I have also raised in the Parliament the use of holding companies to disguise the real levels of foreign ownership. Until a proper Register is put into place, I doubt that we will know the real levels of foreign ownership of Australian land.
I am not opposed to foreign investment. But there is a world of difference between investment, where the investor shares the risks and rewards with local businesses and employees, and ownership, where Australia loses control over its own destiny. We need real transparency about foreign ownership of Australian land, and we need it sooner rather than later.

1 comment:

  1. Our local Chinese supermarket owners are getting out of the business. They claim they can't keep up with price rises, in a low income area, and part of the problem is China! The food is going overseas and the people here are being stung. Food prices will continue to rise, along with export prices. It's like our LNG prices. As there are no reserves for domestic use, prices are soaring along with exports. Foreign ownership of farms is all about the "Asian Century" and Australia being "open for business". This "business" should be more than just selling off our assets, and our land is our greatest asset.