The Coalition Government has today released the third annual report of the Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land Register, continuing our commitment to increase scrutiny and transparency of foreign ownership in the agriculture sector.
Foreign ownership of Australian agricultural land remains steady at 13.4 per cent, compared to 13.6 per cent last year. This is based on a comparison of data held on the Agricultural Land Register and the Australian Bureau of Statistic’s annual assessment of total Australian agricultural land.
The overwhelming majority, 80 per cent, of foreign investment continues to be in the form of leasehold interests.
The United Kingdom remains Australia’s largest source of foreign investment in agricultural land, holding approximately 2.6 per cent. Chinese investors hold approximately 2.3 per cent of total agricultural land, and investors from the United States of America hold around 0.7 per cent of total agricultural land.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) administers the Agricultural Land Register and receives information directly from foreign investors. All foreign investors with an interest in agricultural land are required to register their interest, regardless of the value of the land or their interest in the land.
The Government recognises that while foreign investment is an important contributor to growth, productivity and jobs in agricultural communities, it is important to ensure that foreign investment is not contrary to the national interest.
The Government is also preparing the first register of foreign ownership of water access rights. This report is in the final stages of preparation and will be released in coming months.
The Agricultural Land Register as at 30 June 2018 is available on the Foreign Investment Review Board website.