VENDORS will be forced to advertise and market agricultural land to Australians first rather than foreign investors, under tough new rules proposed by the federal government.
Treasurer Scott Morrison said the government was committed to ensuring that Australians had the opportunity to buy agricultural land.
“We welcome foreign investment in Australian agricultural land where it is not contrary to the national interest,” Mr Morrison said.
“Our foreign investment rules facilitate investment while making sure Australia's national interest is protected.
“This includes ensuring adequate opportunity for Australians to invest in Australian land.”
We welcome foreign investment in Australian agricultural land where it is not contrary to the national interest.
Mr Morrison said concerns around the ability of Australians to participate in the sale process of agricultural land acquisitions have been a factor in previous foreign investment decisions, including approval of the sale of S. Kidman & Co.
“Subject to exceptional circumstances, foreign investors will need to demonstrate that agricultural land they intend to acquire has been part of a public sales process and marketed widely to potential Australian bidders for a minimum of 30 days, and Australian bidders have had an opportunity to participate in the sale process,” he said.
“All acquisitions of agricultural land by foreign investors for residential development will also be subject to standard development conditions requiring development to commence within a five year period to prevent land banking. This condition already applies to acquisitions of vacant land.”
The government has already reduced the screening threshold for foreign purchases of agricultural land from $252 million to $15m and established an agricultural land register.