With confirmation that a Chinese consortium has been approved to purchase Australia’s iconic cotton property, Cubbie Station, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has renewed calls for a national land register to monitor all foreign purchases of Australian agricultural land and water.
NFF President Jock Laurie said such a register would make it compulsory for all foreign persons or organisations that acquire or transfer an interest in agricultural land or water – including the consortium of purchasers of Cubbie Station – to report the sale.
“Importantly, what this decision demonstrates is the vital need for a national land register to gain clarity on who owns what when it comes to Australian agriculture,” Mr Laurie said.
“At the heart of the issue is the concern about foreign-owned entities purchasing Australian agricultural land for the purposes of securing their own future food and fibre availability.
This is why when a foreign entity buys a station like Cubbie, which is one of Australia’s largest fibre producers, questions around ownership and motivations must be asked.”
He said there were also questions around ensuring any foreign purchasers were subject to the same tax and market access conditions as Australian farmers, to ensure an equal playing field.
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