Chi­nese still own Cub­bie

South Burnett Times - - RURAL WEEKLY - Peter Hunt [email protected]­ral­weekly.com

CHINA’S $30 bil­lion tex­tile giant Ruyi Shan­dong has re­fused to wind down its 80 per cent stake in Aus­tralia’s largest ir­ri­gated cot­ton prop­erty, Cub­bie Sta­tion, de­spite be­ing given more than six years to do so.

Aus­tralian Se­cu­ri­ties and In­vest­ments Com­mis­sion records show Ruyi still owns 80 per cent of Cub­bie Sta­tion, via a Sin­ga­pore hold­ing com­pany, de­spite com­mit­ting to wind down its stake within three years of its 2012 pur­chase of Aus­tralia’s largest ir­ri­gation prop­erty.

For­mer La­bor trea­surer Wayne Swan ap­proved the sale of Cub­bie Sta­tion to Ruyi for $240 mil­lion on con­di­tion it “sell down its in­ter­est in the Cub­bie Group from 80 per cent to 51 per cent to an in­de­pen­dent third party (or par­ties) within three years”.

Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son, in his for­mer role as Coali­tion trea­surer, then ex­tended Ruyi’s dead­line in 2016 by an­other three years.

Cur­rent Trea­surer Josh Fy­den­berg ap­pears to have washed his hands of the is­sue, re­fus­ing to an­swer ques­tions on whether he will hold Ruyi to the orig­i­nal con­di­tion of the sale.

When asked what ac­tion he was tak­ing, Mr Fry­den­berg said: “It is a long­stand­ing prac­tice that the For­eign In­vest­ment Re­view Board and the Trea­surer do not com­ment on the de­tails of for­eign in­vest­ment screen­ing and sub­se­quent pro­cesses as they ap­ply or could ap­ply to par­tic­u­lar cases.”

Aus­tralian agribusi­ness­man Roger Fletcher, whose com­pany RF CSAG holds a 20 per cent stake in Cub­bie Sta­tion, said he had noth­ing to say on the is­sue.

Ruyi Shan­dong’s Mel­bourne of­fice is­sued a state­ment that “the three-year ex­ten­sion was granted in 2016 and Ruyi re­mains in com­pli­ance with its obli­ga­tions to FIRB”.

“Un­for­tu­nately, we are not able to com­ment fur­ther at this stage due to con­fi­den­tial­ity obli­ga­tions,” Ruyi stated.

Mean­while, ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties are wait­ing on the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to re­lease the 2017-18 reg­is­ters of for­eign-owned wa­ter and land.

The Coali­tion com­mit­ted to the for­eign wa­ter reg­is­ter in 2015 as part of a deal with the Greens, with any for­eign per­son re­quired to reg­is­ter their in­ter­est in wa­ter en­ti­tle­ments and rights from July 1 last year.

Mr Fry­den­berg said the For­eign Own­er­ship of Agri­cul­tural Land and Wa­ter Reg­is­ters would be re­leased be­fore the end of the year, as part of “our gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to in­crease scru­tiny and trans­parency in Aus­tralian agri­cul­ture”.

PHO­TOS: MECHIELSEN LYN­DON

COT­TON COM­PANY: Ae­rial views of Cub­bie Sta­tion, and its wa­ter-stor­age dams, af­ter ap­proval of the Chi­nese pur­chase of Cub­bie Sta­tion, west of Dir­ran­bandi, Queens­land.

Cot­ton picked on Cub­bie Sta­tion.

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