The Conservative Party's WA Senate candidate Jonathan Crabtree writes: According to the agricultural land ownership register, nearly 20% of WA’s total agricultural land is now owned by foreign interests. Foreign ownership of agricultural land in WA is growing at the fastest rate in the country.
Across Australia, Chinese ownership of farmland is skyrocketing. After the UK, China now has the second largest stake in Australian farmland, with some 9.17 million hectares. This is at a time when Australians' concerns about foreign interference and Beijing's intentions are rising.
As Chinese ownership of Australian farm rockets ahead, the Commonwealth Government has gone to water on revealing how much farm water they and other foreign entities own. The Coalition has thus far failed to keep its promise to release a foreign ownership register of water in Australia.
Australia should welcome investment into our country. However, strategic, non-commercial investments by foreign state-controlled entities or their associates are unlikely to be in our long-term interest, particularly where significant or strategic Australian assets are targeted.
The Australian Conservatives believe that we must not compromise our long-term national interest or economic well-being for short term gain in the form of foreign capital. There needs to be an ‘ethic of reciprocity’ in our foreign investment and free trade agreements, where foreign investors are granted similar rights to what Australians are granted in their countries.
I believe that we need people in Canberra prepared to stand up for our national interest.
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