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Latest figures on foreign ownership of Australian agriculture

Written by: Duncan B. on 5 May 2022


The latest statistics from the Foreign Investment Review Board regarding foreign investment in Australian agriculture are as always, interesting reading.

For the financial year 2020-21, US investors topped the list pouring $874.7 million dollars into Australian agriculture.

Canada was close behind with $818.5 million worth of Investment, while China was in third place with $645.5 million. Britain was fourth with $518.8 million. The Netherlands, Singapore and South Korea trailed the field with smaller investments.

US and Chinese investors have also been selling off a large number of their investments lately. Chinese investors have been moving their money to South America and other locations in Africa and the Belt and Road countries. No doubt the hostile attitude of the Australian government towards China is also a factor.

The Australian Taxation Office 2021 data on foreign-held freehold and leasehold agricultural land in Australia shows Chinese investors control the most land, with 8,499,000 hectares. This figure is 2.3% of Australia’s agricultural land and is down slightly on the previous year’s figure of 2.4%.

The UK is next with 8,251,000 ha. (2.2%), with the US a long way behind with 2,926,000 ha. (0.8%). Canada comes in fifth with 2,451,000 ha. (0.6%).

However we see the real picture about foreign investment when we look at foreign investments in Australian agriculture by value. The Canadian company PSP Investments has investments in our agriculture totalling $5 billion in an extensive portfolio of investments in many different agricultural commodities spread widely over Australia. The next largest investor by value is the Australian-owned Macquarie Bank with $2.5 billion plus invested in Australian agriculture. The US-based TIAA-CREF pension fund is third with $2 billion.

It is all very well to go on publishing these statistics but what are we going to do about the foreign grab of our resources? There is no doubt that many Australians are concerned about the situation. A recent ABC Vote Compass survey of 31,328 respondents found that 62% strongly agreed with the proposition: “The government should further restrict foreign ownership of Australian agricultural land.”

These sentiments need to be channelled into the movement for national independence and socialism in Australia.


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