Registry update to be released in 'due course': Treasurer

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the government's foreign investment registry will be updated soon

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IN DUE COURSE: Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the federal government's registry which tracks foreign investment in Australian agriculture would be updated soon.

IN DUE COURSE: Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the federal government's registry which tracks foreign investment in Australian agriculture would be updated soon.

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When contacted by Australian Community Media, the Australian Treasurer said the foriegn investment register would be updated soon, but could not give a specific timeline.

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THE federal government's register of foreign investment in the Australian agriculture sector is set to be updated for the first time since 2018.

Australian Community Media revealed this week it hadn't been updated for a number of years, despite it being a key election promise by the Coalition.

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the register would be released soon but could not give a specific timeline.

"The FIRB's Agricultural Land Register is in the final stages of preparation and will be released in due course," Mr Frydenberg said in a statement.

"The government supports the need for transparency with respect to foreign ownership of agricultural land, which is why we introduced the Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land (the Agricultural Land Register) and a reduction of the screening threshold for proposed foreign purchases of agricultural land by private investors to $15 million in 2015."

The commitment to update the register comes after New England MP Barnaby Joyce vowed to push treasury to release the register for the first time since December 2018.

Mr Joyce said on Monday last week he was frustrated the registry, which was an election promise of his in 2013, hadn't been updated.

"This is really frustrating because it is something I fought for, because I believe the Australian public wants to know who owns what," Mr Joyce said.

"We know there will be a portion of foreign ownership - that's always the case - but we don't want it to be excessive in crucial areas of our economy.

"Overwhelmingly, the Australian people want the Australian country to be owned by Australians."

National Farmers Federation (NFF) chief executive officer Tony Mahar said the registry was critical to public confidence for the government.

"The NFF is aware of the issue of the registry being out of date and we'd would like to see the problem resolved as soon as possible," Mr Mahar said.

"The value of the registry is that it's information is as current as practicable and that the contents is reported to the public in the interests of transparency.

"The register must be kept up-to-date and adhere to its own deadlines if it to maintain the confidence of the public."

The story Registry update to be released in 'due course': Treasurer first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.

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