For years now, farmers have been raising concerns about the impact of foreign investment within the agricultural sector. With no shortage of people interested in selling agricultural businesses to overseas investors, concerns have been raised over the lack of transparency of these deals.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has recently acknowledged these issues saying, “What you hear out there [in the bush] is a desire for a proper understanding of who owns what.”
In a bid to actively address these concerns the federal government is set to make a national register of foreign investment available to the public. From the start of July, all foreign investments in agricultural land must be registered with the ATO. This information will then be used to create a national register which will give a clear view of the location and size of the property, size of the interest of stake, and the country of origin of the investor. The move to create a transparent investment proccess ushers in stricter penalties for those who breach the rules in regards to overseas investment.
The new national register will be made public from 2015.