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Foreign-owned Australian farms on the rise: ABS

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Foreign ownership of agricultural land has reached 50 million hectares, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The figures show just fewer than 99 percent of Australian farming businesses and less than 90 percent of farmland is fully Australian owned.

"Our 2013 survey found that while there has been an increase in the area of farmland owned by businesses with some level of foreign investment, by far the majority remains Australian owned," said Bruce Hockman from the ABS.

Of the states and territories, Victoria had the lowest proportion of agricultural land owned by businesses with foreign ownership, with only two percent, or 238,000 hectares. The Northern Territory had the highest proportion, with 32 percent, or 17.7 million hectares of agricultural land owned by businesses with foreign ownership.

"The survey also confirmed that large businesses continue to account for the majority of foreign owned farm land, with less than 50 businesses accounting for 95 per cent of the total area of foreign owned farm land in Australia, Hockman said.”

The majority of agricultural land owned by foreign-owned businesses was accounted for by businesses in the sheep, beef cattle and grain farming industry.

"Of the 400 million hectares of agricultural land in Australia, nearly 50 million hectares had some level of foreign ownership; this is up by around 5 million hectares, an increase of 11 per cent on the 2010 result.”

"Water entitlements for farm businesses with some level of overseas ownership increased significantly, with most of this increase happening in Queensland." Hockman said.

Water entitlements totalled more than 13 million megalitres in 2013, with more than 11 million megalitres being wholly Australian owned, and nearly 2 million megalitres going to those with some level of foreign ownership (up 55 percent).

photo credit: marfis75 via photopincc

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