Coalition Should Get Behind Foreign Investment Register
The Coalition should support the Government's consultations on a register of foreign ownership of agricultural land, said Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury.
Joe Hockey told radio ABC Goulburn-Murray today that the Coalition supported greater transparency:
I think what we need to know is the full story and we'll have something to announce that in the next few weeks. We need to know the full story about who owns what and where and at the moment there is insufficient evidence…
[ABC Goulburn-Murray, 18 July 2012]
"The Gillard Government has already announced a working group to consult on the development of a Commonwealth foreign ownership register for agricultural land," said Mr Bradbury.
"A national foreign ownership register for agricultural land would provide the community with a more comprehensive picture of the specific size and locations of foreign agricultural landholdings over and above what is currently available.
"The Coalition is split by deep internal divisions about their approach to foreign investment.
"We all know that Barnaby Joyce, the would-be Deputy Prime Minister in an Abbott Government, wants to roll the shutters down on foreign investment.
"And to placate Senator Joyce, Tony Abbott is doing all he can to delay the release of the Coalition's policy.
"The Gillard Government supports a strong foreign investment screening regime that is transparent and protects the national interest.
"The Government applies a rigorous national interest test to all foreign investment applications, and we screen every dollar of direct investment from foreign governments.
"And earlier this year we announced a working group to look at the development of a register of foreign ownership of agricultural land to get some more facts on the table.
"This comes after ABS data showing that current foreign ownership of agriculture is comparable with the levels of 1983-84, with around 99 per cent of agricultural businesses entirely Australian owned.
"The Coalition, meanwhile, remains deeply divided while Mr Abbott is captive to Senator Joyce over foreign investment."
18 July 2012
Opposition Divided on Foreign Investment
Barnaby Joyce – Weekly Times – 12 June 2012
Senator Joyce said his argument was against foreign-government ownership by any country.
Barnarby Joyce – Weekly Times – 2 May 2012
This purchase, like every other purchase that has ever been made, will never be stopped.
Barnaby Joyce – The Age – 21 July 2009
Ownership of Australian businesses by state-owned enterprises is an inherently unhealthy thing.
Tony Abbott – Doors – 11 December 2009
JOURNALIST: Mr Abbott, do you think there'll be a severe disruption in the resources sector and a full-scale brawl with China if Chinese state-owned companies were banned from investing in Australian resources?
ABBOTT: Well, it certainly is not and never has been Coalition policy to oppose Chinese investment in Australia. Basically, we welcome foreign investment.
David Bushby – AFR – 3 March 2012
I would think the majority of the party room would be highly in favour of foreign investment and not putting unreasonable restrictions on the ability of Australia to attract good foreign investment.
Joe Hockey – National Press Club – 20 May 2009
We have never opposed foreign investment. Australia is a net importer of capital.
Tony Abbott – 3AW – 17 Feb 2010
Foreign investment generally is a good thing. We need it, it's very important to the future success of our economy.