Establishment of Coalition Working Group
Posted on Thursday, 30 June 2011
The Coalition will establish a Working Group to investigate options to strengthen the rules governing the sale of Australian agricultural land and agribusinesses to foreign entities.
Continuing foreign investment is integral to Australia’s economic future.
Government policy must also ensure that foreign acquisition of farming land is undertaken in Australia’s national interest and that the food security of our nation is maintained into the future.
The Working Group will examine the adequacy of current policy settings in delivering these outcomes.
In November last year the Opposition called on the Government to commission the Australian Bureau of Statistics to compile data on the foreign ownership of agricultural land and agribusiness and to recommend what steps need to be taken to establish and maintain a public register of foreign ownership of agricultural land and agribusiness.
The Opposition also called on the Government to task the Productivity Commission with reviewing the issue and, in particular, to consider whether the Government needs to lower the threshold for notification to the Foreign Investment Review Board for rural land and agribusiness acquisitions, and whether a national interest test for food security should be introduced.
The Working Group will be chaired by the Hon Warren Truss. The Hon Julie Bishop will be the deputy chair and they will be joined by shadow ministers the Hon Joe Hockey, the Hon John Cobb, Senator Barnaby Joyce and Mrs Sophie Mirabella.
The Working Group will call for submissions and meet with concerned communities, businesses and other stakeholders. It will report in coming months.
30 June 2011