Over 80% of Australians against Chinese investment in agricultural land

Yesterday the Federal Government’s plans to make Australia the Asian food bowl were labelled “a waste of taxpayer’s money” by the Wilderness Society, and now a new poll has found over 80 per cent of Australians are also against plans to encourage Chinese investment in agricultural land.

The Gillard Government’s plans to encourage investment in the north of the country from Chinese investors, in a bid to develop agricultural land was slammed by Wilderness Society spokesman Gaven McFadzean, who said the Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce determines some time ago that the region was not ever going to become the ‘foodbowl’ the government is portraying.

When she first made the claims that Australia should work towards being the food bowl for the rising Asian middle class, agricultural groups and farmers were quick to criticise Gillard’s comments, saying saying current policies are killing their businesses, not helping them.

And it seems there is also opposition coming from other part of Australian society, with the annual 2012 Lowy Institute poll finding 81 per cent of Australians are against foreign investment in prime agricultural land, one of the strongest results recorded on any question the poll has asked ever asked.

Of the 81 per cent opposed to foreign investment, over 60 per cent were strongly opposed.

The federal government is allowing too much Chinese investment in Australia, according to 56 per cent of those polled, and 54 per cent believe food production should stay local.

The Lowly poll asked 1005 people for their opinion on foreign and security policy in Australia between 26 March and 10 April.

The findings show a "general anxiety among Australians about the volatility of the global economy and about the exposure of Australia's economy to global forces,” according to Lowy Institute of International Policy executive director Michael Wesley.

It’s the first time the survey had asked questions about foreign land ownership, and Wesley said the results should implore government’s to "take note of the strong reaction,” before implementing any measures encouraging investment from abroad.

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