Australian PM pledges ag land foreign ownership register
Growcom CEO Alex Livingstone said his organization had just this week put in a detailed submission to the opposition’s discussion paper on foreign ownership, and was pleased to see the prime minister Julia Gillard’s commitment.
“From horticulture’s point of view, the value or size of the land is not important. Fruit and vegetables can be grown on relatively small properties. For the continuation of our industry in Australia and the food security of the nation, it is more important that soil types and access to water are considered when doing any analysis.
“Growcom mentioned in our submission to the Coalition discussion paper that water licences must be placed on the register along with the land.
“As many others in agriculture have already mentioned, foreign investment in agriculture has been an important part of our nation’s development for more than 200 years and families such as the Vesteys of England were our largest landholders for many years.”
He said investment from companies and private individuals would continue to play an important role in Australian agriculture, but government-owned sovereign wealth funds looking to purchase agricultural land should be examined closely.
“If such an entity begins farming in Australia in order to ship food back to the home country during a shortage, it could threaten food security in Australia if the shortage is worldwide. We believe Australians should always have the opportunity to purchase produce grown here,” Livingstone said.
Growcom’s submission on the Coalition’s Discussion Paper on Foreign Investment in Australian Agricultural Land & Agribusiness can be read here.