Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Rural Roundup

Vanguard August 2014 p. 2
Duncan B.

Further to the story in last month’s Vanguard about the foreign take-over of Australian agribusiness, it was reported that a Chinese firm has bought Gippsland export meat processor Tabro, for $25 million.

It was also reported that private equity firms are interested in the $500 million float being planned by dairy exporter Murray Goulburn. At least one firm is interested in taking the whole $500 million offer.

A new Agricultural Land and Water Ownership survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the amount of foreign ownership of Australian land has risen by 4.7 million hectares since 2010, rising from 44.9 million ha. to 49.6 million ha.

The level of foreign ownership of water has increased 55% to 1.8 million megalitres in the same period.

Recently the exploitation of foreign workers involved in the horticulture industry has been exposed in the rural press. The workers, most of whom are backpackers, are being supplied to farmers by dodgy labour hire companies. It is alleged that the workers are being underpaid and some do not have the correct visas.

They are forced to live in sub-standard accommodation, up to 20 in a house, and being charged exorbitant amounts for the privilege.

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