4 Oct 2017

Foreign ownership of Australian farms rises

3:31 pm on 4 October 2017

Chinese ownership of Australian farmland has risen ten-fold in the last financial year, figures show.

Farmland in Echuca, Victoria, Australia.

Farmland in Victoria. Photo: AFP / Elke Meitzel / Cultura Creative

Data from Australia's Tax Office showed Chinese investment rose from about 1.5 million hectares to almost 14.5 million hectares.

China is now the second largest owner of Australian farms behind the UK.

Australian National Party senator for New South Wales John Williams said the government should keep a close eye on the levels of foreign ownership for the benefit of food security in the future.

In New Zealand, the latest Overseas Investment Office figures show that in the past five years, the US has been granted consents for nearly 120,000 hectares of land, followed by China, which bought nearly 34,000 hectares, then Japan at 21,578 hectares.

However, when looking at the net value of foreign investment over the past five years, Canada soared ahead of other countries - having invested nearly $4.5 billion dollars in New Zealand.

China is the next largest foreign investor, spending more than $2.8 billion dollars.

The value of the US holdings in New Zealand dropped by $1.5 billion dollars over those five years.

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