Greens call for tighter foreign investment rules
Greens Leader Christine Milne says changes to the Foreign Investment Review Board are a step in the right direction, but there's a long way to go if Australia is serious about protecting our food future.
"It's critical we make sure that Australia's agricultural land and water are seen as key national assets not to be sold off recklessly," said Senator Milne.
"As global warming and extreme weather events disrupt food production worldwide, land grabbing and outsourcing food production by major importers of Australian food is undermining trade rules and threatening our food security.
"We need an outright ban on the sale of agricultural land and water licenses to wholly-owned subsidiaries of foreign governments, and we need a much more stringent national interest test.
"The Greens have long been calling to drastically reduce the threshold for the national interest test to $5 million, so the new $15 million threshold down from $252 million is a welcome move from the government," said Senator Milne.
"There has been cross-party support for a national register of foreign owned agricultural land since 2012.
"I encourage the ATO to include water assets in its stocktake as get it done as soon as possible, so we can get the register up and running.
"This kind of scrutiny is critical to making sure Australia makes informed and strategic decisions about our land and water resources, especially as global warming impacts on food availability and prices," Senator Milne concluded.