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China Seeks Land for Aquaculture in Australia

06 July 2012

AUSTRALIA and CHINA - A Chinese company is looking to control 100,000 hectares of Australian land for aquaculture, after which the products will be sent directly back to China, according to an Australian newspaper.

Federal Parliament sources say a Chinese company intends to use an Australian resources company to develop the land, near Broome in Western Australia, reports WeeklyTimesNow.

It's unclear whether the company is owned, or uses funding provided by the Chinese Government.

The 100,000ha would dwarf the aim of fellow Chinese company Shanghai Zhongfu to obtain 30,000ha with attached water rights on the Ord River in northern WA and the western Northern Territory.

It's understood the Broome proposal is for 10 lots of 10,000ha each to minimise risks if an infection or contamination issue arose.

The land would be on a long-term lease.

Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan said he believed the intention was to send the seafood "straight to the Chinese market".

"I further understand this is long-term strategic planning, because of the huge areas of environmental destruction in the Chinese landscape and contamination of a lot of their fisheries," Senator Heffernan said. "They've lost 10 per cent of their agricultural land in the last 10 years. They've destroyed their own capacity, they're using ours."

Senator Heffernan demanded to know how the Australian Tax Office would treat the enterprise given there would be no sale of the produce in Australia.

Adventurer and businessman Dick Smith said Australia should "follow the astute Chinese Government", which "requires residency for owning productive land and important companies".

"If they became residents, I'd totally support it," Mr Smith said.

"Our country is made from that, not from foreign governments being remote landlords."

The NSW Country Women's Association has recently taken a stand on "protecting our land and water".

CWA spokeswoman Elaine Armstrong said she was "disturbed" about land being controlled by foreign entities, "whether it's China or whoever".

West Australian Mines, Petroleum and Fisheries Minister Norman Moore could not be contacted and the West Australian Agriculture Department did not respond, reports WeeklyTimesNow.

TheFishSite News Desk



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