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The latest on foreign ownership of Australian farmland

Written by: Duncan B. on 3 March 2022


Australian Tax Office registers show that foreign corporations owned 14.1% of Australian farmland and 11% of our water last financial year. Foreign ownership of land in the last financial year fell slightly to 52.985 million hectares, while water ownership rose to 4.389 million megalitres. 

Canadian pension fund PSP Investments raised their water holdings from 698,000 megalitres to 810,000 megalitres. US and Chinese water holdings dropped slightly in the period. Half the foreign-owned water is held within the Murray-Darling Basin, equal to 2229 gigalitres or 11.3% of the food bowl’s 19,755 gigalitre entitlement. The foreign grab for our water resources should be of concern to all Australians.

China still holds the greatest quantity of land, 8.49 million hectares in total, but only 830,000 hectares of that is freehold, the rest being leasehold. The greater part of foreign-owned land is used for pastoral purposes; cropping country accounts for over 2 million hectares and forestry 1.4 million hectares. 

The percentages of foreign ownership by state are Tasmania 25.5%; Northern Territory 25.5%; Western Australia 16.6%; Queensland 12.2%; South Australia 10.9%; Victoria 5.9%; New South Wales/ACT 5.2%.

Foreign Owners Active in Australia’s Aquaculture Industry
Australia’s $1.9 billion aquaculture industry is dominated by two major players. Tassal Group controls about 32.8 % of the aquaculture market in Australia, while Huon Aquaculture Group has about 22.4% of the market. Huon Aquaculture was purchased by Brazilian agri-business giant JBS in 2021.

The next biggest player accounts for about 5% of the aquaculture market. This is the New Zealand-owned Petuna Aquaculture. A number of smaller companies make up the rest of the aquaculture industry in Australia.


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