Foreign Investment Review Board figures show foreign investors buying up Qld

Newly released data has revealed Queensland’s agricultural land and water entitlements are being swept up by foreign-owned entities at what some say is an alarming rate.

Recently released Foreign Investment Review Board figures for the 2019 financial year have exposed 20 per cent of Queensland’s water entitlements are now foreign-owned and out of all states and territories, Queensland tops the leaderboard when it comes to foreign-held agricultural land.

In 2019, foreign-held water entitlements across the state measured in at 1301GL. This was up 6.7 per cent from the previous financial year. While NSW trailed close behind at 1260GL, all other states and territories fell behind considerably.

When it came to foreign-owned agricultural land, Queensland led the charge with 15,490ha of its land held by foreign entities, the Northern Territory landed closely behind at 14,307ha.

Kennedy MP Bob Katter said the figures in the report “made him sick” but he believed the data to be “wildly inaccurate”.

“They (FIRB) don’t take into account the shareholding of Australian companies that belong to foreigners, which would make the overall foreign ownership of water entitlements and land much higher,” he said.

“Nearly everyone I meet is sick of the sale of our assets.”

Earlier this year, Mr Katter introduced the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeover Amendment to federal parliament.

The bill would amend the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 by preventing foreign persons or entities from acquiring a 10 per cent or greater interest in Australian assets of “strategic economic or defensive significance”.

It would also introduce a Foreign Ownership Assessment Board, which would determine the significance of said assets – composition of this board would be decided by a majority of the Senate.

“If the Government has any sense of sovereignty or national pride they’ll bring on the bill for a vote at the next sitting and support,” Mr Katter said.

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