Indonesian plan to farm on Aussie land concerns Joyce

NSW MP-elect Barnaby Joyce has hit out at an Indonesian Government plan to buy one million hectares of Australian land to grow out their own cattle, circumventing Australia's trade.

Reports of the plan emerged on Thursday, revealing the south-east Asian government wanted to buy the land to breed cattle before being shipped to Indonesian feedlots.

It will also be regarded as another issue of contention between The Nationals and the Liberal Party, as the new Coalition Government looks to balance the two competing interests on foreign investment.

But Mr Joyce, the likely new Member for New England, said he believed Australia's role in the live cattle trade should be more than just a "location" for overseas governments.

He said the new Coalition Government needed to get to the bottom of the proposal, but warned of risks to "Australia's national interest" of selling such a large amount of land to an overseas government.

"We have an abundance of cattle ready to go to Indonesia, and we should be using our efforts to make sure our cattle get there, not just be a holding yard for their cattle," he said.

"I'm also very concerned about the risks of us playing host to a government where they own our land and breed and fodder the cattle themselves, and the inherent risks to transfer pricing and potential tax consequences.

Mr Joyce said while he had no problem with "astute overseas businessmen", he was concerned the bid could put Australian cattle producers out of the game.

"I've never had any problems with somebody else investing in our country, but we've got to be making sure we have a more substantial trade in the south-east Asian boom," he said.



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