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Opposition 'dishonest' on foreign investment: Emerson
03/08/2012 - Trade Minister Craig Emerson has accused the opposition of "economic Hansonism" over its claims about the levels of foreign investment into Australia.
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The coalition on Friday is expected to release a discussion paper which outlines its plans to toughen rules around foreign investment.
Under a coalition government, foreign investors would be forced to reveal any state influence in their operations and overseas buyers seeking ownership in Australian agricultural land would need to seek Canberra's approval for purchases over $15 million.
Dr Emerson said the opposition was manufacturing a problem where it didn't exist, pointing to a "negligible" 0.1 per cent rise in the level of foreign ownership in Australian agricultural land between 1984 and 2010.
"They're reacting to something where they themselves have helped stir up misinformation and then say they're going to fix it," he told ABC radio on Friday.
Dr Emerson accused the opposition of playing on people's fears and of being dishonest about issues surrounding foreign investment into Australia.
"It is irresponsible behaviour on the part of (Opposition Leader (Tony) Abbott and (Nationals Senate leader) Barnaby Joyce.
"It's just economic nationalism, or worse, economic Hansonism."
Senator Joyce has said Australia's food security would be put at risk by Chinese businesses buying up Australian agricultural land.
Dr Emerson dismissed Senator Joyce's comments as "hysterical nonsense".
The opposition also says it would develop a national register of foreign ownership of real property in co-operation with state land titles offices.
The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) would be increased to seven members, including at least one person with agricultural sector expertise, it says.
The FIRB would review any proposed foreign acquisition of an agribusiness where the investment represented 15 per cent or more in an agribusiness valued at $US244 million ($A234.18 million) or exceeds $US53 million ($A50.87 million), whichever is smaller.
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Kermit | 3/08/2012 10:40 1
Call it Hansonism! Call it B**stedism, call it what you like! This is absolute LUNACY to allow foreign ownership of our Agricultural land. Mr Emerson, you want us to buy OUR food, grown on OUR land, sold in OUR supermarkets to be owned by a foreign interest...get a LIFE...how can you possibly even contemplate this notion! The only valuable asset we have left is our land and infrastructure don't throw "the baby out with the bath water"...Food and water will be the most valuable commodities on earth within 10 years don't cut off our chance for survival....this is suicide! What are you thinking! When is this government going to grow up, shape up and listen to the people. A 15% foreign ownership in our land, infrastructure and manufacturing is the ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM!....lets BUILD this NATION not rip it down!
Kezza | 3/08/2012 10:49 2
Isn't this the same "emerson" that advised Aussie business to move overseas?? What an absolute brain dead idiot.Do NOT give him(it) media space .What a turkey! (sorry to the feathered variety!!) Can we send him(it) overseas permanently?? PLEASE???
Les Parsons | 3/08/2012 11:00 3
Come on Emerson. How would you know. The Chinese and other Asian countries know that they will not have enough agricultural land to feed their citizens in the future. You go and try to buy land in their counties and see how far you get. They will be able to produce food in Australia and ship it home, excluding any food for Australians. Also there will be great tax concessions for them. All it requires is common sense to forsee the future. It appears that this does not apply to many in your government, and yourself.
jIm Snell | 3/08/2012 11:07 4
This Emerson is an idiot, he will surely loose his seat at the next election, i hope that this is the oppostions policy and they take it to the next election , its about damn time we had a Government that looks long term to protect the Food security of Australians and stopped this crazy $200 million level and went to $15 million.There are alot of farms for example under $200 million that overseas companies could buy, soo good on You Tony
Quale | 3/08/2012 15:08 5
Unlike the rest of us, Craig Emerson appears unconcerned about the lack of good agricultual land being purchased by overseas buyers. Here in god's country, (Liverpool Plains Shire in NSW) the mining interests (and foreign owned) land would now be around 20 to 30% of the total.
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