15 May 2013

Federated Farmers calls for foreign land register

9:30 am on 15 May 2013

Federated Farmers has asked the Government to set up a foreign land register to provide more information about farmland and agricultural businesses in overseas hands.

National president Bruce Wills told the Primary Industry Forum his organisation supports foreign investment because the country was built on it and can't progress without it.

He says the Overseas Investment Act strikes the right balance and Federated Farmers wouldn't support further controls on foreigners buying farmland.

But he says more information is needed about the amount of land in foreign hands.

"While the Overseas Investment Office statistics has since 2002 measured the flows of investment, there is no information available on how much land is currently owned by foreigners."

Mr Wills says he's also asked that the proposed foreign ownership register include the ownership of agribusinesses such as processors and service providers.

Mr Wills says a register would help put foreign land ownership in context and contribute to a more informed and rational public debate about the issue.