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Foreign ownership of agricultural land register findings

The Federal Government released Australia’s first report from the Agricultural Land Register, delivering on our commitment to increase scrutiny and transparency in Australian agriculture.

The Land Register shows foreign investors hold just 13.6 per cent of all Australian agricultural land. The United Kingdom is Australia’s principal source of investment in agriculture and the preferred means of agricultural investment is through leasehold.

Of the 13.6 per cent of agricultural land held by international investors the overwhelming majority, or more than 52 per cent, is owned by United Kingdom investors.

The countries with the next largest shares are: the United States, Netherlands, Singapore and China. Less than half a per cent (0.38 per cent) of Australia’s agricultural land is held by Chinese investors.

Treasurer Morrison said: “Foreign investment is integral to Australia’s economy. It contributes to growth, productivity and creates jobs, but the community must have confidence that this investment is in the national interest.

“The Federal Government understands that trade and foreign investment has always created jobs in Australia for Australians, driven our economic growth and always will.

“With more than $3 trillion worth of foreign investment in Australia today, we cannot afford to risk our economic future by engaging in protectionism.

“The land register is part of the Turnbull Government’s package of measures to strengthen Australia’s foreign investment regime which will better help to protect our national interest.”

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 that interest, regardless of the value of the land.

The ATO matches land titles, immigration and other third party data sources to identify foreign investors who may not have recorded their land on the Agricultural Land Register.

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