Joyce dragging us back to 1950s: Emerson
08 June 2012
Trade Minister Craig Emerson has dismissed Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce’s concerns about food security in the wake of a Chinese bid for Australia farmland, as an attempt to drag Australia back to the 1950s.
Craig Emerson said Australia should not shun foreign investment in agriculture.
“Put the walls up… back to the 1950s that’s what you get with Barnaby Joyce and Tony Abbott,” Dr Emerson told the ABC.
Queensland Senator Barnaby Joyce has raised questions about whether Dr Emerson is favouring a Chinese bid to take over the Ord River irrigation scheme in the West Australian Kimberley region because his former boss Bob Hawke is reportedly representing Chinese firm Shanghai Zhongfu.
He rejected accusations of xenophobia and says local companies should be given priority.
Senator Joyce said “state-owned enterprise investment” should be considered differently to investments by individuals because they were “arms of another nation’s government.”
“If you have another nation’s government becoming a large scale owner of land in your country are you going to create confusions for yourself in the future,” he told ABC radio.
He said Australia should not be naive about potential future disputes with foreign governments over Australian farmland.
Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing 89 per cent of agricultural land was Australian-owned were wrong, Senator Joyce said.
“If you have two peach trees and a couple of rabbits, they will call you a farmer,” he said.
“It’s a manipulation of the figures.”
[News article supplied by AAP]
“It’s just like buying a normal property,” says Rachel Zhang, Director of International Real Estate Investment at GiFang.com, the Chinese portal that promotes Australia’s real estate to predominantly Chinese buyers offshore, “if you have a piece of real estate for sale, and there are buyers for it, do you really care who buys it? At the end of the day, if you get the price you wanted, it doesn’t matter who buys it, if you are a seller.”