PRDnationwide has recommended increased transparency of foreign land investment in Australia, following the release of an update of its Foreign Ownership of Primary Production Land in NSW report.
“These include the establishment of a state registry to track the foreign ownership of land, the examination of the different methods of ownership with a special attention given to tryst structures and the major shareholders of large agricultural land owners,” PRDnationwide analyst Odred Reuveni-Etzioni said.
“Ensuring foreign investors’ representations and undertakings, as to the use of the land, are enforced upon settlement and more attention has to be paid to the ownership and control of facilities such as abattoirs, ports and dairies, as they often bare greater risk to the national interest than the farmland itself.”
The updated report, released yesterday, found that the Korean Young An Group has large holding in western NSW. Westchester and Cargill, both from the USA are listed as companies actively seeking land.
Cargill is the most diversified company currently transacting in the market, with a recent purchase in the Riverina District.
The research revealed that top prices were paid by Shenhua Watermark, of Chinese origin, for land in the Breeza area, averaging $10,917 per hectare.
This makes Shenhua Watermark Coal amongst the largest foreign owners of land in NSW in terms of dollars invested.
The aim of PRDnationwide’s report was to close the gap between research and policy.
“One concern further hindering foreign ownership legislation, is that available information regarding foreign investment in the sector is inadequate to support policy decisions,” the report says.
“The aim of this report is to identify the largest foreign land owners in NSW and suggest measures to ensure that the use of land is consistent with the representations made by the owners of the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB)."