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Parties flip-flopping on foreign ownership: too little, too late



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Old parties flip-flopping on foreign ownership: too little, too late

“Kevin Rudd’s awakening on foreign ownership of agricultural land, just hours after his agriculture minister announced no change to the current lax regime, should fool no-one,” Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.

“Mr Rudd might be ‘anxious’ about foreign ownership of agricultural land, but the fact remains that his government has done nothing about it.

“Neither of the old parties are up to the challenges of globalisation and climate change. Global warming, refugees, food security and foreign ownership of agricultural land and water need a consistent, comprehensive approach.

“The Greens understand the strategic value of our priceless agricultural land and water, and have held a consistent position well ahead of the old parties. I have been putting this issue on the agenda for years.

“The Greens will not support the sale of agricultural land and water rights to wholly owned subsidiaries of foreign governments and would apply a $5m threshold along with a strong legislated national interest test to any other proposals.

“It’s time we recognised that food is the new oil, land and water the new gold.

“Yesterday Joel Fitzgibbon recycled the ALP’s commitment to introducing a register of foreign ownership of land, something they promised to have in place years ago and still haven’t delivered.

“The Coalition is no better. Tony Abbott says he will consider lowering the threshold for a national interest test for foreign agricultural land and water purchases, but is simultaneously offering up northern Australia in a bonanza for foreign investors.

“The Coalition’s flirtation with reducing the threshold for a national interest to apply to foreign purchases to ‘about 15 million’ is also meaningless if they won’t commit to legislating a strong national interest test that recognises the scarcity and value of prime agricultural land in Australia.”

Media contact: Peter Stahel 0437 587 562

Senator Milne’s July 2010 op-ed

Senator Milne’s second reading speech for her bill the Foreign Acquisitions Amendment (Agricultural Land) Bill 2010

Minority report to the Senate Inquiry into the Foreign Investment Review Board National Interest Test