Foreign land investment to be restricted
Opposition leader Tony Abbott has proposed a set of tough new laws to restrict overseas ownership of Australian agricultural land - limiting the purchase of rural property to $15 million without approval.
Mr Abbott said overseas buyers would have to seek consent from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) for rural real estate purchase costing more than $15 million - significantly lower than $244 million threshold which stands at present.
Pledging to establish a national register to control foreign-owned property, Mr Abbott said Australians needed to have confidence that overseas investment was for the benefit of the country, Fairfax Media reported.
"We believe proper oversight can provide greater certainty to investors and ensure there is greater confidence in the Australian community that the investment taking place in agriculture and agribusiness is in our national interest," Mr Abbott explained.
Under his proposal, the FIRB would also evaluate the overseas purchase of agriculture business valued at more than $53 million, or a 15 per cent or more investment in an Australian agribusiness.
The Greens Party agreed it was important to establish a national register to ensure local agricultural land and water be kept in Australian hands.