Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
Today Tonight -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) We've been given another wake-up call today of what happens when Australian companies fall into foreign hands. US giant Heinz is axing more than 300 jobs at canneries that were once Australian owned. And it's going to get worse. Our second largest cattle company, one of our biggest irrigators and the sugar giant CSR are falling into foreign hands. The Chinese are leading the charge for our farms and food factories, but there are plans to stop the sell-off before everything goes. These current rules make us international laughing stocks. So you're saying it just doesn't matter if foreign owners - foreign companies or foreign governments - own large tracts of Australia? It just doesn't matter? More or less, yeah. exactly what's owned or who owns it. It's not clear in anyone's mind We're selling the farm - literally. has bid $1.76 billion A Singapore-based company for CSR's Sucrogen sugar business in Victoria and Queensland. with refineries for a cool $610 million. Spanish firm Ebro snapped up SunRice to sell his 50% stake James Packer is poised Teys Bros, in our second-biggest beef producer, to US-based Cargill Foods. South Australian grain producer ABB Canadian giant Agrium took over for $1.2 billion. of 250,000 hectares of farmland, Then there's the sale converted to forests, for $415 million. to a Canadian pension fund wanted to buy the land Australian farmers and use it to grow food of the process. but they were shut out Cubbie Station, Now, the cotton-producing giant also a massive irrigation business, is shopping around willing to pay $400 million. for Chinese investors There is no doubt drive up prices in the supermarket. that foreign investment will Once we're out of business, their own prices. then they can dictate Lynn Wilkinson from AUSBUY believes foreign investment rampant, unchecked over our food stocks. is taking away control are price-takers, not price-makers. And that means the farmers In the area of dairy, is now foreign-owned. 75% of our dairy industry in the world Virtually no other country will allow this sort of investment of checks and balances without any sort to look at the national interest. says Independent Senator Nick Xenophon most-populated countries, the world's led by China, by buying up our land and factories. are preparing for future food famine hundreds of millions of dollars, Why are other countries spending billions of dollars in food production in Africa? in Australian food production, such as China and Saudi Arabia, Those countries, to be how people feed themselves. know that the big issue is going and why are we being mugs here Why are they doing the smart thing what food sovereignty is all about? by not understanding and unexpected. His solution is simple It pains me to say it across the Tasman have got it right. but I reckon the Kiwis a 5-hectare rule, In 2005, New Zealand introduced has to declare a purchase of land meaning any foreign investor over five hectares in size. It's worked well in New Zealand. the 5-hectare rule in New Zealand, You contrast that, with $231 million as a rule here - something that's sensible and fair. there's no comparison in terms of That's right - currently, private foreign investors their buy-ups here only have to declare in value. if they're over $231 million The result is we don't know already slipped through our fingers. how much of Australia has a bunch more public servants Well, you'd have to employ the whole thing. to actually administer the Centre for Independent Studies Analyst Luke Malpass from simply won't work here. says the New Zealand solution probably bigger than five hectares Your average lifestyle block is and it sort of assumes is somehow special that every five hectares in Australia or really important land that's necessarily the case at all. when I don't think going over to the Arab states When you've got ex-politicians to sell our best farms you have to say not quite right in our system. that there is something a major audit The Government has commissioned farmland is now foreign owned. to work out how much of Australia's by the end of the year. We should have some idea president Jock Laurie National Farmers' Federation says after 10 years of drought, their best profits in a generation farmers are looking to harvest doesn't end up in overseas accounts. and he hopes that money community and Australian Government And then I think the Australian will make a pretty serious decision they think it should go about which direction sticking limitations on it and whether they should be or whether they shouldn't. going to be eating? What kind of food are Australians net importers of food Are we going to be is actually grown in our own land and see all the product that or to China or Japan, India? taken off to the Arab states

Bryan Seymour reporting. on Today Tonight. Here's what's coming up