“The legislation passed by the Parliament to lower the screening threshold for agribusiness and agricultural land will reduce investment in sectors that need foreign capital to reach their full potential,” BCA Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.
“The Business Council has consistently warned against lowering the Foreign Investment Review Board thresholds for agribusiness investment. This decision by the government and The Greens 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 will further worsen this position.
“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 Business Council acknowledges that 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.
“This Act will undermine the government’s recently completed free trade agreements by imposing measures that will unnecessarily hinder investment flows to Australia from FTA partners and other countries," Ms Westacott said.
For further information contact:
Matt Newton, Communications Adviser
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (02) 8664 9207 • Mobile 0409 550 578