Australia

Feb 18, 2014

Without foreign investment, rural Australia will buy the farm

Many in politics are against foreign investment in rural Australia, but farmer and rural communications specialist Robbie Sefton says sometimes it is the only way for small farms to survive.

Back in 1997 my partner Alistair and I set off across the Nullarbor Plain by truck accompanied by 4000 sheep, three dogs, two horses and our furniture. We’d sold our mixed farm in Kojonup, Western Australia and spent the proceeds — plus a bit more — on a bigger property in Coonabarabran in New South Wales.

6 comments

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6 thoughts on “Without foreign investment, rural Australia will buy the farm

  1. Venise Alstergren

    With all due respect overseas companies don’t want small farms. They want Cubbie Station.

  2. Drew Blue

    …and with all due respect your friend Ken Hamilton perhaps, made an emotional investment. All the right motives were there and it was successful for all parties.

    That’s not something you will see from foreign rural conglomerates.

  3. Sailor

    “we need strategic and sensible controls to ensure such investment doesn’t threaten the national interest.”

    Agreed, and I applaud your enterprise. I feel most (intelligent) people would agree with your codicil “strategic & sensible” about controls on foreign investment.

    How to settle on what substantive controls might be able to achieve that aim is the difficulty. And Venise appears to be right, from what I’ve seen over the years.

    So inviting the “right” sort of investment without a wholesale free-for-all is the hard decison. Especially given the current Federal Govt’s zealotry in pursuing its ideological aims no matter what the facts are.

    I despair of a rational approach – like yours – ever bearing fruit in the current intelligence-deficit climate of political & public debate. But I wish you (on the basis of your story) all success in the effort to produce a plan for the years to come. I’m sure my rellos around country NSW & Victoria would agree.

    But why stop at preparing for 2020? The work of many good people will be needed to get us ready for what the evidence of science shows will be an “extreme-weather” filled climate.

    Congratulations again on surviving the difficulties, and best wishes for your efforts at improving everyone’s prospects.

  4. AR

    A sturdy yeomanry for mine. Talk of multi thousand hectare enterprises is sooo last century.

  5. Simon Warriner

    The issue of young farmers having to find $400 billion to buy out aging parents is a vexed one. What happened to passing on the family farm? Is there not a huge opportunity here for some enlightened government facilitation of succession planning? I do not know the answer, but it seems a problem this big could do with a hell of a lot more thought.

  6. Venise Alstergren

    SIMON WARRINER: the terms enlightened and government are mutually exclusive.

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