Facebook Question - Foreign Land and Housing Ownership, Boat Arrivals.
April 28, 2016
Yesterday I was asked about my views on foreign land and house ownership and Australia's "stop the boats" policy, here is my response:
A while ago (possibly May 2013) OUTBACK magazine did a feature on foreign investment in agricultural land. I've read plenty of other sources on the subject, but it seemed to cover all arguments well.
It strengthened my view that as long as they follow our laws, I have no issue with foreign companies investing in our agricultural land. The jobs and investment benefit our communities and will continue to, given they can't pick up the land and take it home with them. Although, I'm less comfortable with our land going to businesses owned by foreign powers.
Having said all that, I don't think there should be carte blanche - lands on the Woomera Missile Testing Range should be kept in Australian hands for national Security reasons and I'd have kept Cubbie Station locally owned due to the huge water entitlement, for example.
Rather than heavily curtailing foreign buyers, I think it should be made easier to subdivide huge tracts of land. For example, I remember reading that there were plenty of Aussie farmers who wanted to buy Cubbie Station but couldn't afford the whole lot - only foreigners raise that kind of capital.
I'm unsure where I sit on foreign home ownership at this point, I've heard lots of anecdotal evidence that the growing Asian middle class is getting preferential treatment from real estate agents because they have deeper pockets, but I'm also hearing that many people at auctions of Asian appearance are actually Aussies.
I'd need to do more research before I could give you a solid opinion on it, but I'm very interested in exploring how we can use the interest from foreign house buyers to increase housing stock.
I reluctantly support boat turnbacks, however I want us to raise our humanitarian refugee intake and move towards emptying our offshore detention centres.
It's the turning back of boats that has slowed the number of boats and drownings off Christmas Islands, not offshore detention.