Changes to foreign investment rules for agricultural land welcomed

PAGE MP Kevin Hogan has welcomed a Federal Government plan to reduce the screening threshold for foreign investment in agricultural land to $15 million and to establish a register of foreign ownership of agricultural land.

"This was one of our election commitments and I am pleased the Government is moving ahead to implement it," Mr Hogan said.

"I would like to see Australian farmers owning Australian farms."

Investment in agricultural land is currently subject to the same thresholds as other businesses.

However from March 1, the screening threshold for agricultural land will be reduced to a cumulative $15 million.

"This means that foreign investors will have to seek approval for any purchase of agricultural land that would result in their total agricultural land holdings exceeding $15 million," Mr Hogan said.

"For example, if a foreign investor currently owns $13 million of agricultural land they would need to seek approval to buy more agricultural land worth $3 million."

Mr Hogan said from March 1, all investments in agricultural land over $15 million will be added to the register of foreign ownership.

From July 1, the Australian Tax Office will start collecting information on all new foreign investment of agricultural land regardless of value. The ATO will also commence a stocktake of existing agricultural land ownership by foreign investors to establish a complete agricultural land register.

Mr Hogan said the Government would work with the states and territories so that the register will ultimately use Land Title transfer information from existing state and territory land title collection processes to remove duplication processes for property owners.