It’s not unusual to fear what we don’t understand. Foreign ownership of land has long been a thorny issue because it brings to the fore the worrying concept of selling the very foundations of our nation. Plus once sold, it’s almost impossible to buy back!! To make matters worse, details of foreign ownership have until now been quite private. So the release of the Federal Government’s farm register which identifies just who has the largest stake in foreign ownership of Australian farmland has to be a positive step.
There’s been a long-held belief that Asian, more specifically Chinese interests, were the key investors, but surprisingly this isn’t the case. It appears the UK is our largest foreign investor, followed by the US, Netherlands, Singapore and then China.
Now I’m not saying we should ‘sell the farm’ but if we are selling our land to overseas investors, at least we should know who’s buying it. This register debunks some myths and provides a certain sense of clarity. Ideally it offers Australian communities and those outside Australia an opportunity to feel more comfortable with each other. In turn, this should give rise to a culture of us all working together for Australia’s future. Now that’s got to be good for Australia – and us all.