Chinese investors see great potential in Australia's cattle properties
Chinese investors see great potential in Australia's cattle properties Kari Bourne

Watercooler: Should we be selling our farms to Chinese?

AUSSIE farmers are being ripped off their land in their droves by heartless banks who are then turning our precious assets over to Chinese investors.

That was the storyline from Seven's Sunday Night program who told of how China is on the hunt for new food sources to feed its one and a half billion people.

According to the report, its central government has ordered $3 trillion to be spent on securing food and farmland overseas.

Meanwhile, Australia, despite its huge expanse, continues to import much of its food from overseas.

The signing of a Free Trade agreement with China last month is expected to see even more foreign investment.

But should foreigners really be able to buy our food-producing land?

Why isn't the Australian Government having the same foresight as its Asian counterparts and realising that the protection of productive agricultural land is as important to this country as building roads or major infrastructure?

According to the reports, nearly 50 million hectares of agricultural land has some level of foreign ownership - that's an area twice the size of Victoria.

But there is still no comprehensive national list of foreign investment in rural land.

Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter argues we should be wary of 'investors'.

"It's not 'investing', they're not opening mines or building dams or anything of that nature, they're just buying the asset that is there. So it's not investment, it's selling your country off."

He says where Aussie farmers have failed, the Chinese are primed to make profits.

"We sell for $2.50 a kilogram, our cattle, it sells in China for $30 or $40 a kilogram. So if you are the person in China getting the $30 or $40 dollar per kilogram then, Australia looks very attractive."

So why isn't the federal government helping farmers to export more of its produce to keep farms viable?

And should foreigners be allowed to buy our land outright - or only lease it?

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