Chinese Own Less Than 1% Of Agricultural Land; Figures Show 86% Land Australian-Owned; Half Of All Foreign Investment Is From UK

Figures released today by the Australian Taxation Office show that 86.4% of the nation’s agricultural land is held by Australians. Foreign interests hold 13.6%, whilst Chinese interests control just 0.4% of the total.

Figures from the Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land show that over half of all foreign investment in Australian agricultural land is held by the United Kingdom (52.7%), which has 27.5 million hectares, or 7.2%, of total agricultural land.

United States interests hold 14.8% of all foreign investment in land. This represents 7.7 million hectares, or 2% of the total.

The Netherlands, Singapore, China, Philippines, Switzerland, Jersey, Indonesia and Japan hold 21% of all foreign investment. Together, the top 10 countries account for 88.5% of all foreign investment in agricultural land.

The figures debunk claims by populist and fringe political groups about Chinese holdings of land. Just 2.8% of all foreign investment in land is Chinese, or 0.4% of all agricultural land. [Read more…]


Government Announces $320 Million Drought Assistance Package

The federal government has announced a drought assistance package worth $320 million.

The package includes more generous income support arrangements, $280 million of concessional loans, $12 million for water infrastructure, $10 million for pest management and $10.7 million for social and mental health services.

The package was announced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce at a joint press conference. [Read more…]


Abbott Releases Foreign Investment Discussion Paper

The Coalition has released a discussion paper on foreign investment in agricultural land and agribusiness.

Abbott, Truss & Hockey

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said “the Coalition unambiguously welcomes and supports foreign investment”. However, “there is scope to improve Australia’s foreign investment regime when it comes to investment in agricultural land and agricultural business”.

The paper was released by Abbott, Nationals leader Warren Truss and Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey in Sydney today.

The paper is titled: “Foreign Investment In Australian Agricultural Land And Agribusiness”. Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has been put in charge of managing a “Discussion Paper process”. Submissions to the process are open until October 31, 2012.

Abbott, Truss and Hockey discussed foreign investment at a press conference this morning:

Media release from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott on the Foreign Investment Discussion Paper.

The Coalition unambiguously welcomes and supports foreign investment.

Foreign investment has been and will continue to be instrumental to the economic development and growth of Australia.

We support a foreign investment regime that strengthens our economy, promotes growth, and fosters confidence that foreign investment is in our national interest. [Read more…]


Beattie Says Free Trade Deal Is Betrayal Of Sugar Industry

The newly re-elected Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie, who lost so-called “sugar seats” in the election two days ago, has been quick to criticise the Free Trade Agreement with the United States announced today.

Text of media release from the Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie.

Sour free trade deal means Howard must deliver $120M to sugar industry

BeattiePremier Peter Beattie is bitterly disappointed that the Federal Coalition left the sugar industry out of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States.

“Prime Minister Howard says the deal is “fantastic” but it is in fact a betrayal of the Queensland sugar industry,” Mr Beattie said.

“It has shattered hopes held by the sugar industry and the Queensland Government for fairer access to a market of 280 million people. [Read more…]


Australia “A Bit Lost” – Rick Farley

This is the full text of Rick Farley’s 2003 Australia Day Address, from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Mr. Farley was the Executive Director of the National Farmers’ Federation from 1988-1995. [Read more…]


Whitlam Talks Superphosphate In Lardner

Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s visit to Lardner, in Gippsland, saw some heated exchanges with farmers over the abolition of the superphosphate bounty.

This is the audio of the ABC-TV news that evening.

It includes Whitlam’s riposte to the crowd: “I will not have you booing the Country Party in Drouin or Lardner.”

  • Feb 19, 1974: Listen to Whitlam in Lardner