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Letter to The Editor
of The Stock Journal
Mr Tony Mahar’s support for Foreign Ownership (Stock Journal 25/8/16) is a view unfortunately held by some senior politicians and businessmen. It is particularly unfortunate in Mr Mahar’s case since he heads the National Farmers’ Federation, an organisation with rank and file members expecting their leaders to promote, protect and nurture their industry and assets.
Around the world, most countries either severely restrict or even prohibit the sale of farmland to foreigners. The Japanese economy has been declining for twenty years and yet I would not be able to buy any of their land. So why is Australia needing to assist the economy by eagerly displaying the “For Sale” sign?
It is over fifty years since foreign investors assisted with rural development. The foreign money now simply purchases assets of a going-concern like, for example, the Tasmanian dairies and potentially, the Kidman properties. These are fully developed and only require normal maintenance.
A glance at a map of Australia with flags indicating properties now owned by foreign interests is alarming to most of us and we must ask Mr Mahar and others like him; “How far should this idea of selling the farms, go?” “Is there a limit and when might it be reached”?
If the need for foreign money is to maintain a decent standard of living, then we need to check what other avenues are available. Firstly a check of the Reserve Bank Act will be very helpful. Among other things, the Act defines one duty of the Bank “….to ensure that the monetary policy of the Bank is directed to the greatest advantage of the people” in a manner which “will best contribute to the economic prosperity and welfare of the people of Australia.” What more do we need!
Rather than continuing to display Australia as the nation of suckers in the eyes of the world, I appeal to Mr Mahar and others to arrange our parliamentary representatives to instruct the Reserve Bank to serve as it is meant to.
KG, Naracoorte, SA