Senate debates

Tuesday, 11 September 2012


Cubbie Station

Photo of Helen KrogerHelen Kroger (Victoria, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

At the request of Senators Abetz and Joyce, I move:

That the Senate:

  (a)   notes that:

     (i)   there is bipartisan support for foreign investment, provided that the particular foreign investment is not contrary to the national interest,

     (ii)   the Treasurer (Mr Swan) has approved the potential sale of Cubbie Station to a consortium 80 per cent owned by Shandong RuYi Scientific and Technological Group Co Ltd,

     (iii)   the Treasurer has failed to explain why the potential sale to a majority foreign-owned consortium of one of Australia's most valuable irrigation properties, with a water licence equal to 6 per cent of the water use in the northern Murray-Darling Basin, is not contrary to the national interest, and

     (iv)   Annex II of the Treasurer's own policy on foreign investment requires him to consider the effect of the proposal on:

        (A)   the quality and availability of Australia's agricultural resources, including water,

        (B)   land access and use,

        (C)   agricultural production and productivity,

        (D)   Australia's capacity to remain a reliable supplier of agricultural production both to the Australian community and our trading partners,

        (E)   biodiversity, and

        (F)   employment and prosperity in Australia's local and regional communities;

  (b)   calls on the Treasurer to provide a statement detailing:

     (i)   how the Treasurer determined the ownership and control of the consortium, particularly in the context of the national interest,

     (ii)   why the Treasurer did not publish an interim order to extend the period of consideration by 90 days as required by Australia's Foreign Investment Policy, and

     (iii)   why the sale is not contrary to the national interest and release the advice to the Treasurer from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and associated documents, including what, if any, other options were considered; and

  (c)   calls on the Government to ensure that foreign investment transactions are transparent by:

     (i)   establishing a publicly available national register of all foreign acquisitions of Australian agricultural land,

     (ii)   reducing the financial threshold for FIRB examination of foreign acquisitions of Australian agricultural land, and

     (iii)   ensuring that at least one member of FIRB has experience in agricultural management.


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