Australian Agriculture Needs Investment to Reach its Potential

“The Shadow Trade Minister’s commitment to amend the government’s proposed requirements for Foreign Investment Review Board screening of investments in agribusiness and agricultural land, is welcome recognition of the important role foreign investment will play in the future of the agricultural sector,” BCA Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“The Business Council has consistently said that lowering the Foreign Investment Review Board thresholds for agribusiness investment will increase costs, bring uncertainty and have a chilling effect on investment in a critical sector.

“Australia is already rated by the OECD as the sixth most restrictive country for attracting foreign direct investment. Lowering the threshold for agribusiness and agricultural land would exacerbate this further.

“The Business Council acknowledges there are community concerns about foreign investment in agricultural land, which is why we support the government’s proposal to establish an agricultural land register.

“Research undertaken for the BCA last year found that agriculture had the greatest comparative advantage of any sector of the Australian economy. To make the most of this advantage it is estimated that Australia will need around one trillion dollars of investment in our agriculture sector through to 2050 to enable production growth.

“The government’s recently completed free trade agreements will be a driver of major economic growth and prosperity, and it should not be undermined by imposing measures that would unnecessarily hinder investment flows to Australia from FTA partners and other countries,” Ms Westacott said.

For further information contact:
Scott Thompson, Director, Media and Public Affairs
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2664 • Mobile 0403 241 128