Australia tightens its rules on land ownership

Australia is tightening its rules on land ownership, with the government set to establish a register for non Australians who own or invest in agricultural land.

Under the new rules, all foreign investors in Australia who hold interests in agricultural land must register those interests.

The Age reports that the Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce will be announcing stricter penalties for those who breach the rules.

The minister say that the new land ownership regulations seek to create a more “accessible picture of foreign ownership of agricultural land”.

The Age goes on to report that the information collected will be added to a national register in Australia, which will make available to the public information such as the location and size of the property, and size of the interest of stake, along with the country of origin of the purchaser.

“The Coalition government is delivering on its commitment to increase scrutiny and transparency around foreign investment in Australian agriculture,” the ministers say.

“Foreign investment is integral to Australia’s economy. It contributes to growth, productivity and creates jobs, but the community must have confidence that this investment is for our nation’s benefit.

“These measures are a significant step in protecting Australia’s national interest,” Mr Hockey and Mr Joyce said.

The new national register will be made public from 2016.

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