State is still attractive
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.