Emma Boughen

Foreign agricultural land investment register starts July

A LONG-promised register of foreign investment in agricultural land will begin in July with extra scrutiny of new investments also promised.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Wednesday the register would start operating this year, and the tax office would also begin a stocktake of existing agricultural land owned by foreign companies. The package was promised by the former federal Labor government in its final term and the then Coalition opposition, but it took the current government almost 18 months to announce it.

It will also ramp up scrutiny of foreign purchases of agricultural land, reducing the Foreign Investment Review Board's screening level from $252 million to $15 million from March this year.

Mr Abbott said details of more scrutiny of foreign investment in the general real estate market were expected "in coming weeks".

"(We) must have confidence that this investment is coming in on our terms," he said.


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