Government: Australians will get every opportunity to buy agricultural land
"The Government is committed to ensuring that Australians have the opportunity to purchase agricultural land.
"We welcome foreign investment in Australian agricultural land where it is not contrary to the national interest. 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.
"Concerns around the ability of Australians to participate in the sale process of agricultural land acquisitions have been a factor in my previous foreign investment decisions, including approval of the sale of S. Kidman & Co Limited.
"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.
"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.
"These requirements build on the Government's commitment to boost the transparency and integrity of the foreign investment regime and provide prospective investors with greater certainty about the rules.
"The Government's previous initiatives include reducing the screening threshold for foreign purchases of agricultural land from $252 million to $15 million and the establishment of the agricultural land register." ■