State is still at­trac­tive

Central and North Burnett Times - - RURAL UPDATE -

AL­MOST five mil­lion hectares of Queens­land land is in the hands of for­eign in­ter­ests – less than 3% of the state – but the amount spent on buy­ing fell 14% in just 12 months.

Fig­ures tabled to Par­lia­ment from the For­eign Own­er­ship of Land Reg­is­ter showed Chi­nese in­vestors spent the most buy­ing Queens­land plains in the past fi­nan­cial year, spend­ing more than $234 mil­lion.

In 2010-11, the Chi­nese were the third big­gest spenders be­hind both Malaysians and Sin­ga­pore­ans.

Butwhile an ex­tra $80 mil­lion was spent by Chi­nese buy­ers in 2011-12 com­pared to the year be­fore, it was still the Bri­tish who held the most land in the state.

Buy­ers from the United King­dom own 2.039 mil­lion hectares of land.

The United States’ land share is sec­ond only to the UK but its share is six times smaller – just 310,000 hectares.

The largest in­vestor coun­tries for 2011-12 af­ter China were United King­dom, Ja­pan, Sin­ga­pore, Repub­lic of Korea and In­dia.

In to­tal, 1.07 bil­lion was spent buy­ing Queens­land prop­erty in the fi­nan­cial year, down from 1.23 bil­lion the year be­fore.

Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter An­drew Cripps was un­avail­able to be in­ter­viewed, but in an email he blamed the fall on world eco­nomic con­di­tions, although he said the state re­mained at­trac­tive to in­vestors.

Mr Cripps de­scribed for­eign in­vest­ment as nec­es­sary, healthy and im­per­a­tive.

“The Queens­land Government sup­ports for­eign in­vest­ment be­cause it helps stim­u­late eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity and cre­ates jobs across a num­ber of sec­tors in­clud­ing agri­cul­ture, min­ing, tourism and real es­tate,” he said.

“Queens­land has a strong in­vest­ment part­ner­ship with China and Chi­nese in­vest­ment here is an in­di­ca­tor of that re­la­tion­ship.”

Not all sides of pol­i­tics agree with the state’s stance on for­eign own­er­ship with Bob Kat­ter reg­u­larly warn­ing against con­tin­ual in­vest­ment from overseas.

“For­eign in­vest­ment – if nec­es­sary to pro­vide our farm­ers with the only exit pos­si­ble from years of un­fair prices or lock in new mar­kets, pro­vide new tech­nol­ogy or fi­nance – should nor­mally not be 51%,” he said.

Prop­erty Coun­cil ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Kathy MacDer­mott said the fig­ures showed the world had con­fi­dence in the state and at a time when the mar­kets lo­cally were so weak, it should be wel­comed with open arms.

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