Bri­tish hold most of Aussie farm­lands

Pilbara News - - News - Shane Wright

Eleven per cent of WA’s farm­land is owned by for­eign na­tion­als and most of that is leased by Bri­tish in­ter­ests, the first break­down of agri­cul­tural land own­er­ship has re­vealed.

In in­for­ma­tion that un­der­mines claims of a Chi­nese takeover of Aus­tralian farm­land, fig­ures com­piled for the Fed­eral Govern­ment show Bri­tish, Amer­i­can and Dutch in­di­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies own most of the for­eign-held farm­land across Aus­tralia.

In WA, for­eign in­ter­ests con­trol 8.8 mil­lion hectares, or 10.9 per cent of the State’s to­tal farm­land. Most of that for­eign-con­trolled land is owned through lease­hold, with just 9 per cent in free­hold own­er­ship. The land is owned across 917 sep­a­rate prop­er­ties.

The Northern Ter­ri­tory has the most farm area un­der for­eign con­trol, with more than 30 per cent of its 50.4 mil­lion hectares leased or owned by other na­tions.

Na­tion­ally, for­eign­ers own or lease 13.6 per cent of Aus­tralia’s to­tal 384.6 mil­lion hectares of farm­land. It is equiv­a­lent to the area of Spain.

Live­stock is the big­gest farm­ing pur­suit by for­eign­ers, ac­count­ing for al­most 90 per cent of the to­tal land area held by other na­tions. The push for a for­eign farm­land reg­is­ter was driven by con­cerns that Chi­nese state-owned firms were buy­ing up large swaths of Aus­tralia. But the fig­ures show Bri­tish in­ter­ests hold more than 52 per cent.

The next largest is Amer­ica, with 7.7 mil­lion hectares, fol­lowed by the Nether­lands with al­most three mil­lion hectares. Chi­nese in­ter­ests hold less than 0.4 per cent of Aus­tralia’s to­tal farm­land.

Trea­surer Scott Mor­ri­son said that while for­eign in­vest­ment was critical to jobs and growth, the com­mu­nity had to have con­fi­dence such in­vest­ment was in the na­tional in­ter­est.

“With more than $3 tril­lion worth of for­eign in­vest­ment in Aus­tralia to­day, we can­not af­ford to risk our eco­nomic future by en­gag­ing in pro­tec­tion­ism,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.