The Federal Government today announced a tightening of foreign ownership of agricultural assets.VICTORIA’S peak farming body has today welcomed the Federal government’s decision to reduce the screening threshold on foreign purchases of agricultural land from $252 million to $15 million.
It means any foreign individual or corporation who purchases farm land, worth $15m or more, must first gain Foreign Investment Review Board approval.
“It’s a great win for agriculture,” VFF president Peter Tuohey said.
“The VFF has lobbied for the threshold to be reduced to $5m, to ensure we regulate all significant investment in our most valuable resource – land.”
Mr Tuohey said cutting the threshold to $15m was a great step forward.
“We’ve also called on the Federal Government to establish a register of foreign owned farm land and water,” he said.
From July 1 the ATO will also start collecting information on all new foreign investment in agricultural land regardless of value, and will also commence a stocktake of existing agricultural land ownership by foreign interests.
“Again it’s great to see the Government take this step, but as the driest continent on earth we need to monitor foreign investment in our water as much as our land,” Mr Tuohey said.
“The VFF supports foreign investment into Australian agriculture and recognises the important role it has and will continue to play in a vibrant agriculture supply chain,” Mr Tuohey said.
“But it’s important there are appropriate measures in place to monitor and regulate foreign investment.
“The reduced FIRB threshold and Register goes a long way towards ensuring we have an informed debate on foreign ownership.”
The FIRB threshold will be triggered once the cumulative value of agricultural land owned by the foreign investor reaches $15m.
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