Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Dave Grills MLC has welcomed the release of the Federal Government’s first report from the Agriculture Land Register earlier today.
The Agriculture Land Register was established by the Federal Government in July 2015 and requires persons with an interest in agricultural land to register their interest regardless of the value of the land through the Australian Taxation Office.
The purpose of the register is to accurately track how much Australian land is owned by foreign interests, and was driven by The Nationals as an important tool in increasing scrutiny and transparency of investment into Australian agriculture.
Mr Grills said that while foreign investment that resulted in productive enhancements should be encouraged, the community needed to have confidence that investment was coming in on Australia’s terms and for the country’s benefit.
“It’s important that we have a clear picture of foreign ownership so that we can make rational policy decisions in the national interest based on evidence,” Mr Grills said.
“The first report found that foreign investors hold just 13.6 per cent of all Australian agricultural land, most of which is owned by investors from the United Kingdom.
“This provides a clearer snapshot of investment in Australian agriculture and will help allay some concerns people may have about the sources and level of foreign ownership in the sector.”
Western Australia had a lower rate of foreign ownership than the national average, with 10.9 per cent of agricultural land in foreign hands.
In 2013, The Nationals WA passed a motion at the Party’s Annual State Conference supporting the establishment of a process to monitor foreign farms and pastoral ownership in Australia, a policy which was adopted by the Federal Party.
Nationals WA Candidate for the Kimberley Rob Houston said The Nationals WA had recognised the importance of securing inward investment aimed at generating local jobs and economic opportunities by delivering its “game changing” WA Open for Business policy earlier this year.
“The $20 million WA Open for Business strategy is aimed at attracting investment into WA’s agrifood sector and supports the sector as a whole by improving the alignment of the various agencies working to promote WA agribusiness,” Mr Houston said.
WA Open for Business was a key election commitment by The Nationals WA and is part of the $300 million Royalties for Regions-funded Seizing the Opportunity in Agriculture initiative.
Find the Federal Government’s first report from the Agricultural Land Register here: http://firb.gov.au/
For media enquiries contact Dave Grills MLC on (08) 9071 500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org