Foreign owners’ share growing
THE proportion of Tasmania’s farmland under foreign ownership has increased and is the second highest in the nation, a new report shows.
The Foreign Owned Agricultural Land Register as at June 30 2017 shows that of Tasmania’s almost 1.6 million hectares of agricultural land, 354,000ha is owned by foreign interests across 924 properties.
The state’s proportion of foreign-owned agricultural land is 24.3 per cent, up from 23.4 per cent in 2015-2016. The Northern Territory heads the table just ahead of Tasmania at 25.6 per cent.
Forestry is the biggest sector of foreign ownership in Tasmania with 268,000ha with livestock accounting for 52,000ha, horticulture 18,000ha, crops 5000ha crops and other farming 3000ha.
Natural resource management body NRM South is keen to work with foreign investors and has an understanding with a Chinese research organisation, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, to develop a partnership.
NRM South agriculture sustainable consult- ant Ken Moore said he urged foreign investors to follow key steps for successful investment in Tasmanian farming businesses.
“Some steps should be completed before purchase. It’s important that the farm’s soil, water, vegetation and environment is cared for and the business and owner become part of the local community,” Mr Moore said.
“Tasmanian agriculture needs foreign investment to grow and help meet the increasing overseas demand for our premium products, but it’s important for the investors to develop a strong ‘social licence’ and contribute to our economy and community.”
Mr Moore said foreign investors needed a strong vision and management plan for the business, including engaging experienced agricultural advisers and managers.
He recommends foreign investors check with local government if the business plan will require a development application and whether planned enterprises are suited to the municipality.
“They need to be aware of the farm’s place in the surrounding landscape and environment.”