24.6 C
Byron Shire
January 19, 2022

Pollies argue the toss on selling the (macadamia) farm

Latest News

Hospitals under strain

With ever increasing pressure on health services across the nation and locally, how are health staff coping – and are there enough ICU beds and ventilators to cope with the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases?

Other News

Free KYUP! Project workshops

Empowering our next generation to value and champion their safety and well being through self-worth and self-defence is the mission of the KYUP Project who are running free workshops in the Northern Rivers today and tomorrow.

RATs to the rescue: understanding our transition to rapid antigen testing

At-home testing kits herald a new phase of pandemic management – but how do they work? Pivoting quickly from the...

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 19 January, 2022

Welcome back to the Brunswick Picture House Brett and Chris from the Brunswick Picture House, and their entire team, believe...

The PM’s report from the National Cabinet meeting yesterday

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has released a media statement about the meeting yesterday of the National Cabinet.

Vale Craig Ruddy, passionate artist

Internationally acclaimed Archibald prize-winning artist, and revered icon of the Shire, Craig Ruddy, died suddenly last week, leaving a community in shock and mourning.

Hospitals under strain

With ever increasing pressure on health services across the nation and locally, how are health staff coping – and are there enough ICU beds and ventilators to cope with the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases?

Chinese interests have recently bought a number of macadamia farms on the north coast, prompting questions about foreign ownership. Photo File
Chinese interests have recently bought a number of macadamia farms on the north coast, prompting questions about foreign ownership. Photo Century 21

Hans Lovejoy

The recent purchase by Chinese investors of four large macadamia farms in the Dunoon* area has prompted The Echo to ask local politicians their views on foreign ownership of farming properties.

Sitting Page MP, Kevin Hogan (Nationals) told The Echo that all purchases of agricultural land, including on the north coast, that were over the $15 million limit ‘have gone through the ‘National Interest Test’ and have been approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board as it exceeded the foreign investment threshold of $15 million.

He said the Nationals at the last election ‘took a commitment to lower the foreign investment threshold from $250m to $15m’.

‘This is the level that the Foreign Investment Review Board investigate foreign purchases of land. They determine whether it is in the national interest or not. I am very disappointed Labor wants to increase this threshold to $50 million,’ he said

Huge opportunities: Labor

Neighbouring Richmond MP Justine Elliot (Labor) told The Echo, ‘Australia’s agriculture sector has huge opportunities to take advantage of demand for Australia’s clean, green food products.’

‘Our farm sector needs investment so these opportunities can be realised. Investment is good for jobs, prosperity and sustainability in regional communities like ours. That is why Labor will get the balance right between attracting investment and protecting the national interest.

‘I’ll keep fighting for investment that delivers local jobs. That’s the first, second and third test that should be applied to any foreign investment proposal.’

Keeping control: Greens

The Echo also asked Greens Richmond candidate Dawn Walker for her views. She said, ‘Foreign investment is important for Australia, but in an age of global warming and food insecurity, Australia needs to track purchases of our food-producing land and water, and make sure that those purchases are in the national interest.’

‘Australia is one of the countries being targeted by foreign buyers to secure their nation’s own food security.

‘Keeping control of our prime agricultural land and water resources is critical to maximising our own resilience and providing exports to the global market.’

Ms Walker said her party supported legislation to lower the threshold to $15m, but would have liked it lowered to $5 million. ‘There is also the requirement that foreign entities declare any ownership of Australian agricultural land on the Australian Tax Office Agricultural Land Register regardless of the land value.

It’s important to note that these laws have exceptions which apply to Australia’s trade agreement partners, including, among many, the USA, Japan, China and Korea.

‘Of note, a whopping near $1.1 billion-dollar threshold applies to Chilean, New Zealand and US investors, and a $50 million threshold applies to Singaporean and Thai investors. These thresholds are not cumulative. Because of these exceptions, trade agreements such as the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) threaten to weaken Australia’s existing foreign-investment framework.’

*Dunoon is in the electorate of Page


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

2 COMMENTS

  1. WTF ,
    Are these people for real ?
    There is a difference between ‘investment ‘ and outright ownership
    As we know, the distinction between The Chinese government and ‘Chinese investment’ non existent so what is the ‘National Interest’ benefit in divesting the small benefit Australia receives from the wholesale environmental rape, epitomised by Macadamia farms, to the Chinese government ?
    It is bad enough we have to overlook what is being perpetrated by these environmental vandals in our midst but to put control of these centres of chemical pollution, at the disposal of foreign governments is obviously suicidal.
    “such is life” G”)

  2. I look forward to the Echo’s continued scrutiny and highlighting of sales of Australian property to UK, US, New Zealand, Canadian, German etc etc interests. But I won’t be holding my breathe tightly … somehow it seems ASIAN investment is seen as the big risk….. The scrutiny of this sale seems particularly weird since the farms were already owned by foreign interests. Echoes of the Yellow Peril perhaps?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Emergency response for our emergency responders

We need our nurses. Right now, they are the most important workforce in the country. Not politicians or real estate agents or tradies or miners. Nurses. Paramedics. Hospital doctors.

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 19 January, 2022

Welcome back to the Brunswick Picture House Brett and Chris from the Brunswick Picture House, and their entire team, believe that there is nothing better...

TreadLightly on the planet by recycling school shoes

Most Aussie parents know how quickly kids either grow out or wear out of school shoes. They either get handed down or thrown in the rubbish – adding to the millions of shoes that end up in landfill each year

Friends of Loft

Become a Friend of Loft with their new local loyalty member program. Enjoy member-only benefits and offers, invite-only events, and something special for your birthday. Member...