POLICY BY FACT: Ken O'Dowd The Observer

O'Dowd knows what agricultural land China owns

THE first registry is out on who owns Australian's agriculture land.

National Party member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said now the government knew which nationalities owned Australian land it can now make policy based off fact rather than fiction.

The report discovered that out of the 385million hectares of land, the United Kingdom was the largest overseas owner with 7.14%.

The United States was second with 2%, Netherlands 0.7%, Singapore 0.48% and China 0.38%.

Overall 52.1million hectares was owned for foreign nationals.

LNP candidate Ken O'Dowd
LNP candidate Ken O'Dowd The Observer

Currently, the Foreign Investment Review Board trigger for agriculture land is set at $15million and the board and treasurer have to sign off on the purchase for properties of more than $15 million to go ahead.

"Many people in central Queensland have foreign ownership on their minds and are concerned particularly with the perceived risk of Chinese ownership of agricultural land," Mr O'Dowd said.

"Agriculture can be a risky game and, with so much of Australia's wealth tied up in savings and superannuation, it can be difficult to raise the necessary investment to take our rural industries into the future.

"Time and time again we see agricultural ventures going overseas to secure that capital."

Acting prime minister Barnaby Joyce said the perception that the level of foreign ownership had been increasing seem to be confirmed.

"Previous estimates by ABS surveys found at June 2013 that 12.4% was foreign owned," he said.

"The land register is giving us the first comprehensive baseline picture of foreign ownership of Australian agricultural land. From now on the annual report will give us more accurate data on which to base public discussion."

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