THE National Farmers Federation (NFF) has warmly embraced the Coalition’s proposed register of foreign land ownership but has shown the cold shoulder to a plan to increase scrutiny by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).
A discussion paper released by Tony Abbott last week proposed the $244 million trigger for board scrutiny be slashed to $15 million for foreign purchases of land, and $53 million for agricultural businesses.
NFF president Jock Laurie said rather than settling on a lower threshold for intervention he first wanted the facts, supporting wholeheartedly the Coalition’s plan to establish a national register based on information gleaned from state land titles offices.
‘‘We have got to identify the problem to begin with, and once we identify the problem, then find out how we resolve the problem,’’ Mr Laurie told Channel Ten’s Meet The Press yesterday.
‘‘The Coalition have gone off in a direction that they think politically will be good for them, but our view is that we very much agree with the register.’’
The government and former Howard government ministers Peter Reith and Alexander Downer have said the Coalition’s plans are against the national interest because they would discourage investment.