THE CANEGROWERS organisation has welcomed the Federal Government's announcement to introduce a foreign investment land register.
This is positive news for the Australian agricultural sector and the broader Australian community as it now provides for greater transparency around this much-debated issue.
Foreign ownership of land and food production assets is not new in agriculture.
The sugar industry too has had a history of foreign ownership particularly in milling assets that has spanned many decades.
Foreign investment in agriculture and other sectors, particularly mining, is not a bad thing.
It introduces much-needed capital and leads to greater employment and an improved standard of living.
However, we must have balance.
It is not in the national interest to have most of our agricultural land in foreign hands.
There must be a place in agriculture for Australians owning the majority of Australian agricultural land.
What has clouded the issue of late has been that it appears some of the foreign land and food asset acquisitions have been linked to foreign governments and sovereign food security.
The land register does not go all of the way, but it is an important first step to paint a bigger picture of who owns agricultural land and water allocations in Australia.
Clearly government can now monitor in conjunction with stakeholders the trends in land and water ownership.
This is not a debate about demonising foreign companies or foreign governments, but about ensuring that as Australians we protect our agricultural assets and our food security for future generations.
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