A national register of foreign ownership of agricultural land is to be established.
Announced by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, the register would be implemented after detailed consultations with stakeholders.
Senator Ludwig said the new register would provide a comprehensive picture of the specific size and location of foreign agricultural landholdings.
He said foreign investment had helped build Australian agriculture over the past 200 years and was important for the future growth of the farming sector.
Farm ownership to be recorded
However, he said there needed to be more and better information on foreign investment in agricultural land.
He said data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed about 89 per cent of Australian agricultural land was entirely Australian owned and a further 6 per cent was majority owned by Australians.
These figures were broadly in line with levels of foreign ownership from about 30 years ago.
Senator Ludwig said, however, that comprehensive information about foreign investment in Australian agricultural land was limited.
He said a recently established working group had been appointed to develop a discussion paper on the subject.
.He said the final design of the register would take into account the need to improve transparency of foreign ownership in agriculture without imposing unnecessary burdens on investors.