ARGUMENT TO ADDRESS THE SALE OF AUSTRALIAN LAND AND ASSETS
world’s population set to hit 7 billion later this year and predicted to hit 10
billion by the end of the century, food production and top quality agricultural
land has never been a more valuable asset for any countries long term future.
many different countries in particular those with limited ability to feed their
population, government-backed companies have begun buying up farmland around
the world, with Australia’s vast tracts of top quality primary production land
a prime target.
“Hassad Foods” has been a major player in the big local farmland buy-up, the
company has invested more than $60 million in prime Australian sheep grazing
land in the past year, with more properties in the company’s
Weekly Times reported Hassad were
poised to snap up a further 8500 hectares of land in Victoria’s western
district in a deal worth $35 million — about 20% above market price.
state-owned conglomerate “Bright Foods” has also been desperately looking
to acquire local agribusinesses because of the federal governments
ideals making it easy for overseas investors. The
Shanghai-controlled company have reported to be interested in
Foster’s wine division, while last year they made a failed $1.7 billion
tilt for sugar producer CSR. The company has also managed to get the
backing of the NSW government to explore local wine, diary and sugar
south-east of Australia, Brazilian beef giant JBS has been busy buying up
abattoirs and meatworks, while Singapore-based “Olam International” now
control almost 45% of Australian almonds, thanks to its purchase of “Timbercorp”
and its 8096-hectare plant.
CEO Lynne Wilkinson made it clear the issue of food security is paramount to
the rest of the world and should also be just as important to Australia.
also went on to say there have been many recent instances, including the sale
of over 100,000 hectares of farmland in Western Australia to the Arab
States, which show the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and the ACCC are
not looking after Australia’s long term security interests.
countries buy up our land, water and farms, it raises issues of sovereign risk”,
our governments short sighted grab for cash, is seeing us lose the intellectual
property of generations of Australian farmers.”
sad fact is “We cannot guarantee the food grown on this land will stay in
Australia or that the profits from exports will be here.” What people don’t realise is that if someone
buys prime agricultural land, we can’t force them to sell us the food from that
land, they can ship the food from the land directly to their country, so what
the hell are our government thinking?
senator Nick Xenophon, agrees with my position, himself worrying that
corporations who aren’t state-owned but are “effectively arms of foreign
governments” are going under under the radar in purchasing farmland.
“We should be selling the food, not the farms,”
is a statement being screamed by many, but not being heard by our supposed
the sale of agricultural land in Australia is exempt under Foreign Investment
Review Board (FIRB) regulations, there is rarely much attention given to the
overseas purchases of farmland unless the purchase of
assets exceeds the $244 million threshold. Making it near impossible to even
track how much has already been sold.
only are we not privy to the truth, we have no idea of exactly what land
foreigners own, Australia has extensive arable land, but not all is ideal for
crop production, so even if figures of say 10% were quoted, it could well in
fact be 80% of the top 10% of productive land, the facts and figures are all
over the place, near 10% of water is now part or wholly owned by overseas
companies, a staggering figure in land known for its unreliable rain fall.
for the NT account for a figure approaching 30% of Land ownership, but exactly
how much of the NT land is productive? While studying ABS figures, we are
confronted with grazing and grain farming lumped into one figure, yet the value
of Grain farming land is of higher value
than that of grazing, so transparency simply is not on the agenda.
fact that the foreign investment review board only open their eyes to land
purchases exceeding 244 million dollars, foreign investors could viably buy up
a whole state without review, a frighting fact that we the people should
The indexed monetary
thresholds for 2012 are $244 million and $1062 million. The developed
non-residential commercial real estate (not heritage listed) is also now
indexed and for 2012 is $53 million. For current monetary thresholds see monetary thresholds.
event ABS figures are only as reliable as those filling in the information, as
facts and figures are arrived at from mail out surveys, begging the question,
if the government don’t know, the ABS are somewhat guessing, exactly how much
farm land is left, how much is being brought, and what quality is left for we
as a nation to feed future generations?
we study beyond farms, water and vital infrastructure to the residential issue,
In December 2008, the Australian Federal
Government announced policy and administrative changes to screening
arrangements for foreign investors in Australian real estate, meaning it will
be easier for overseas purchasers to buy property here from 2009.
The policy changes effective from
18 December 2008 combined with administrative changes introduced progressively
since February 2009. The intention is to simplify the process and in doing so,
streamline it, while reducing costs for foreign residents and foreign
The short term gain from foreign
investment in local and community real-estate, will have long term consequences
for our children’s ability to enter the real estate market, with even the
government unable to compete, let alone the fact they are now also shying away
from supplying affordable housing in favour of NGO running our housing trust.
There is no time to lose, we the
people must demand our representative government immediately implement a
moratorium on all land sales to foreign investors, until such time as “We the
people” can make an informed decision.
I propose the immediate adoption
of an Australia wide community consultation process to allow for an informed
referendum to be held during the next federal election, for it is our land, our
future and our sustainability on the line.
Mark M Aldridge
Community advocate and
Don't sell australia short, leon byner, Five AA, Dont sell Australians short, land sales Australia, stop the sale of Australia, Mark Aldridge indepdnent, Nick Xenophon, farms for sale, saving australia, buy Australian, Labor selling the farm, dont sell the fsrm, Farming lan not for sale, stop selling Australia, Mark M Aldridge, LEON BYNER, Nick Xenophon, Barnaby joice, Dick Smith, on line petition to stop the sale of Australian land,