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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 8676

Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (19:33): I thank Senator Lambie for that question. As I indicated during the debate earlier in the proceedings, this $15 million threshold is the proposal that we took to the last election, which was based on extensive consultation with relevant stakeholders. The current threshold is $252 million, so the current screening threshold in terms of agricultural land in the context of Foreign Investment Review Board considerations is $252 million. At various times Senator Wong has argued that it should be lifted across the board to $1 billion.

Labor is proposing a $50 million threshold; we are proposing the $15 million threshold that we took to the last election. Some other senators are proposing an even lower threshold. I think Senator Xenophon is proposing a $5 million threshold and Senator Lazarus is proposing a zero dollar threshold, which would mean that every acquisition of a piece of agricultural land would have to be put to an assessment by the Foreign Investment Review Board.

In the end it is a judgement call. In the end it is up to the Senate to decide whether the Senate supports the recommendation made by the government or whether it supports the recommendations made by the Labor Party, the Greens or one of the Independent senators. From the government's point of view we believe that we have got the line in the sand right, and that is the recommendation we are putting to the Senate.