Key Points on 2 Chinese State-Owned Companies buying Murray-Darling Water

Have we lost the plot?

Has Australia not only sold off the land, the ports and now the water to foreign State-owned companies?

Does the FIRB protect Australia or facilitate the purchase of its assets?

How bad can it get?

THE two Chinese state-owned companies that have purchased Australian water entitlements are:

Unibale Pty Ltd listed as an Australian subsidiary of the state-owned COFCO Corporation, one of China’s major agriculture companies.

Unibale Pty Ltd owns more than 7,000 megalitres of water entitlements in the Gwydir River system

A COFCO subsidiary, Chinatex Australia has failed to pay a Federal Court order to compensate a local beef provider.

-they have acquired water entitlements and faced limited scrutiny by the FIRB

-the reduction of water in our major rivers has led to a rising price

-since 2014 trade in water allocations in the Murray-Darling Basin were relaxed

-though a commodity it does not have the same governance and due diligence like gold or minerals

-private foreign investors buying into our water market are exempt from restrictions to prevent a fire sale takeover of our Assets!

-unlike the alleged restrictions for land and real estate, water assets are not within the FIRB’s oversight

.except for direct purchase by foreign governments

-on their own water entitlements do not require FIRB approval  

HOW can it be said that the FIRB balances Australia remaining such an attractive destination for foreign buyers having allowed all but five transactions yet ensuring these overseas acquisitions are not contrary to Australia’s national interest?

AND despite the Government introducing Public Registers to record these foreign acquisitions of these Australian asset classes it has been reported in The Weekly Times that the Deputy Prime Minister has backed up the government’s stance on delays in releasing the register of foreign investment.

Search for: ‘Foreign Investment Register: Deputy PM Stands by

HOW can it be said that this is about ‘foreign investment’ … when it is about ownership of vital assets and especially control of Australia’s natural resources?’

READ MORE FROM 7.30 ‘Chinese State-Owned Companies buy up

Water in Murray-Darling

A river runs besides green crops.

Photo: There are calls for more scrutiny of foreign investment in Australia’s water assets.(ABC News)