for once i agree completely

  1. 7,334 Posts.
    with joyce .

    Otherwise this labor government is hell-bent on ensuring we not only buy our cheap junk from china but , from the land of exploding pumpkins,,,,our food as well!
    Yep, our kids deserve this .

    NATIONALS Senator Barnaby Joyce says Australia's best farming land should be off-limits to all mining companies as the Greens demand a review of investment rules, accusing the government of putting coal sales ahead of food security.

    Amid revelations a Chinese mining giant spent $213 million buying 43 farms for coal exploration in the NSW Northern Tablelands, the opposition regional development spokesman said this morning legislation was urgently needed to protect prime agricultural assets.

    "I think prime agricultural land, and we have to remember that we are talking about the very best land here, it should be off limits because it is irreplaceable," Senator Joyce told ABC Radio.

    "Once it's gone, it's gone forever and prime agricultural land is really the agricultural form of the Opera House it is unique and Australia has some of the best in the world and that should always be quarantined from any event that would destroy its nature.

    Senator Joyce's comments came on the back of a speech by Greens Leader Bob Brown yesterday in which he questioned the government's wisdom on investment of farming land, especially by coal miners.

    "Shouldn't we be making sure we do have secure and growing food production for a planet that's heading for nine to 10 billion mouths to feed in three or four decades?" Senator Brown told the National Press Club in Canberra.

    "We need to be reviewing this. I think when it comes to land ownership in this country, like New Zealand, we should have a registration of foreign ownership."

    The Australian revealed this week Chinese government-controlled Shenhua Watermark Coal carried out a two-year spending spree in 2009 and 2010 outside the rural township of Gunnedah, 500km northwest of Sydney.

    Shenhua Watermark Coal a subsidiary of the world's biggest coal company, Shenhua Energy is seeking NSW government approval for a coalmine on the Liverpool Plains, surrounding Gunnedah.

    The area sits in the heartland of key independent Tony Windsor's New England electorate, however Senator Joyce is expected to make a bid for the seat at the next election.

    Senator Joyce said prime agricultural land would be identified by soil structure, yield type, and water bearing capacities, and would be protected by state-based legislation. He said the Foreign Investment Review Board powers should be reviewed and supported independent Senator Nick Xenophon's call for the threshold for FIRB intervention on purchases to be lowered from the current $231m to $5m.

    Currently foreigners purchasing more than a 15 per cent-plus stake in most assets worth more than $231m are required to seek approval from the FIRB.

    "I believe should be lowered. To try and pick a number on your show this morning I think would be slightly nave on my part. But I think it should definitely be looked at," Senator Joyce said.

    "Now exactly what those changes are would be would be subject of an investigation by the appropriate committee."

    Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten, who has been commissioned by Julia Gillard to review land ownership, yesterday rejected calls for an inquiry into FIRB's rules. But Mr Shorten left open the idea of a register of foreign-owned property, saying statisticians were in the process of preparing a snapshot of existing holdings.
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