​Media Release

Giving Australians a fair go in agricultural land sales

1 February 2018

Australian farmers received bumper news today as the Coalition Government announced its plan to ensure Aussies have the opportunity to own a piece of this great land. 

Farm land going up for sale will be required to be marketed widely to potential Aussie bidders for a minimum of 30 days and Australian's must be given an opportunity to participate in the sale process. 

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud, said he was excited by this announcement from the Treasurer, which builds on the great work done by the Nationals regarding the Foreign Investment Review Board screening process. 

"The Coalition Government understands the Australian community must have confidence that foreign investment will bring real benefits—this includes ensuring that Australians have adequate opportunity to invest in Australian land," Minister Littleproud said. 

"Our agricultural land and water resources are arguably our nation's most valuable natural assets and I know there have been concerns around the ability of Australians to participate in the sale process of that land, including approval of the sale of S. Kidman & Co Limited. 

"The Nationals in Coalition understand people want transparency when it comes to foreign ownership and these new rules are another step forward to deliver that aim. 

"We welcome foreign investment in Australian agricultural land where it is in the national interest. 

"That's why we have brought in a series of checks and balances for foreign investment—they facilitate investment while making sure Australia's national interest is protected. 

"Genuine above-board foreign investors have not been concerned by the government's measures to improve oversight and transparency. 

"We have reduced the screening threshold for foreign purchases of agricultural land from $252 million to $15 million and established the agricultural land register—giving us the first comprehensive baseline picture of foreign ownership of Australian agricultural land. 

"The announcement made today is the obvious next step to ensuring we give Australian's who want to have a crack the best opportunity to invest in this great nation." 

More information is available at firb.gov.au.  

New rules

  • Subject to exceptional circumstances, foreign investors must demonstrate that agricultural land they intend to acquire has been part of a public sales process and marketed widely to potential Australian bidders for a minimum of 30 days, and Australian bidders have had an opportunity to participate in the sale process.
  • All acquisitions of agricultural land by foreign investors for residential development will also be subject to standard development conditions requiring development to commence within a five year period to prevent land banking—this condition already applies to acquisitions of vacant land.