​​​Media Release

Final two weeks to have your say on foreign investment

4 March 2015

Those involved in the agricultural sector have two weeks left to put forward a submission to the Australian Government’s Consultation Paper Strengthening the Foreign Investment Framework. 

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said the consultation paper was launched by the Prime Minister and the Treasurer on 25 February, and submissions close Friday, 20 March, 2015 – just over two weeks away.

“The consultation paper is asking for feedback on the definition of agricultural land and the definition of agribusiness—neither of which are currently used within the foreign investment framework. Whatever definitions are finally agreed upon will determine what is captured by the government’s new lower foreign investment screening thresholds of $15 million for agricultural land and $55 million for agribusiness,” Minister Joyce said.

“The foreign investment framework currently only looks at land as either being ‘rural land’ or ‘urban land’ but as well as discussing this it is essential that we get the definition of agribusiness right. 

“Some people believe agribusiness should be defined as farming enterprises only, others believe the first stage of basic processing after the primary product leaves the farmgate or the forest should also be included. That means basic processing of livestock in feedlots and abattoirs, of milling sugar cane into raw sugar, molasses and ethanol, crushing of grains into flour and feed, dairy processing, crushing grapes into wine, initial processing of wild caught and farmed fish, and basic timber milling.

“We also need to consider whether it should also cover basic handling and wholesale trade of such commodities.

“Given the potential for a narrow definition of ‘agribusiness’ to be adopted – it is critical that individuals and organisations who are concerned put in a submission outlining the specific manufacturing and wholesale sectors which meet the commonsense definition of ‘agribusiness’. 

“We really need to have a proper public discussion about what we all understand to be covered by ‘agribusiness’ and get it right from the very beginning,” Minister Joyce said today.

To read the consultation paper and provide a submission: http://www.treasury.gov.au/ConsultationsandReviews/Consultations/2015/Strengthening-Australias-foreign-investment-framework 

Information for stakeholders 

The Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) codes most relevant to the commonsense definition of agribusiness are included either under the categories of Manufacturing or Wholesale Trade.  

The link to the latest 2006 version of the ANZSIC codes at: http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/19C21C5659BCAE73CA2574C8001474E4/$File/12920_2006.pdf

The relevant Divisions for consideration for inclusion in the definition of agribusiness are

Pp 77-95: Division A: Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (which is the same as Agriculture, and the narrow definition of agribusiness that some are proposing)

Pp108-130: Division C: Manufacturing - relevant parts to agribusiness are:
1111 meat processing
1112 poultry processing
1120 seafood processing
1131 milk and cream processing
1133 cheese and other dairy product manufacturing
1140 fruit and vegetable processing
1150 oil & fat manufacturing
1161 grain mill product manufacturing
1181 sugar manufacturing
1192 prepared animal feed and bird feed manufacturing
1214 wine and other alcoholic beverage manufacturing
1311 wool scouring
1320 leather tanning etc (some parts)
1411 log sawmilling
1412 wood chipping

Pp220-222: Division F: Wholesale Trade
3311 wool wholesaling
3312 cereal grain wholesaling
3319 other agricultural product wholesaling​​