Australian foreign investment register to go ahead

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 23rd October 2012

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has today welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to introduce a foreign investment register. The register was announced by the Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard, during her address to the NFF’s 2012 National Congress this morning.

The foreign investment register will provide a comprehensive picture of the specific size and locations of foreign agricultural landholdings in Australia.

The foreign investment register announcement follows the launch of the national land register in April 2012, which is compulsory for all foreign organisations to report the sale of Australian agricultural land or water.  However, the land register is not fully operational yet.

National Farmers’ Federation president, Jock Laurie said that foreign investment in Australian agricultural land was welcomed, and that the register will allow for “greater transparency.”

“It is very important that we do not deter foreign investment, but as we have been saying for months, we do want to see greater transparency around investment to ensure that the motivations behind this investment are clear,” Mr Laurie said.

Mr Laurie said that Australian farmers remain concerned about foreign-owned entities purchasing Australian agricultural land for the purposes of securing future food availability for Australians.

“But before any policy decisions are made on this important issue, we need to first have the national land register in place to understand the current levels of foreign investment in agriculture,” Mr Laurie continued.

The foreign investment register was being sought by Australian farmers at a time when there is still considerable debate regarding foreign investment in Australian agriculture.