DomaCom is calling on the government to limit the purchase of land by foreign investors, saying that the overwhelming support for its Kidman Station crowdfunding campaign is proof that Australian investors are interested in domestic agricultural assets.
In its submission to the Senate's Foreign Investment Review Framework, the fractional property investment fund said more than 4,500 'mum and dad' investors have committed more than $70 million to acquire a stake in Kidman Station – Australia's largest private landholding.
DomaCom said the widespread interest was spawned by a desire to keep the property Australian-owned, despite fluctuations in the value of agricultural assets.
"It is clear to us from our communications with and the expressions of interest received that Australians from every walk of life do not want to see our assets sold to foreign interests," the submission states.
While DomaCom is opposed to foreign ownership, it does welcome foreign investments, which it considers to be the businesses that sit on Australian-owned lands.
"Investment is to be encouraged but the sale of our land and infrastructure should always be allowed to remain in Australian hands," the company said.
"Investment in business is global and provided tax on profits is paid in Australia, we doubt anyone has a significant issue with investment."
DomaCom added that age and the lack of succession planning is often the reason farmlands are sold, and the government should provide support for proper exit strategies.
DomaCom chief executive Arthur Naoumidis said: "Although the value of agricultural land fluctuates in line with the highs and lows of climatic changes, such as drought, it attracts reasonable yields and enjoys capital gain.
"In our opinion, domestic investment into agricultural assets has the potential to be a significant game changer in the rural sector as the replacement of debt with long-term investment equity not only provides stability to rural enterprises but can substantially reduce the debt servicing load for the operating business," Mr Naoumidis said.
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