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Grapes of Wrath: Fury after Chinese investors buy up wineries in the Barossa


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Grapes of Wrath: Fury after Chinese investors buy up wineries in the Barossa – and why it means YOU could soon be paying more for a bottle of red

  • A former Nationals senator wants foreigners banned from buying farmland
  • John Williams said they should be made to prove they could create local jobs 
  • Chinese interests own an estimated 10 per cent of Barossa Valley vineyards 

A grazier who took on the big banks now wants foreigners banned from buying up mature Australian farmland as the Chinese buy bigger stakes in Barossa Valley wineries.

John Williams spent years pushing for a banking royal commission as a Nationals senator for New South Wales.

Now the sheep farmer from Invervell, in the state’s north, wants foreign businesses banned from buying up Australian agricultural land, unless they develop it.

A grazier who took on the big banks now wants foreigners banned from buying up mature Australian farmland as the Chinese buy bigger stakes in South Australian vineyards (pictured is Kilikanoon in the Clare Valley)

John Williams spent years pushing for a banking royal commission as a Nationals senator for New South Wales

John Williams spent years pushing for a banking royal commission as a Nationals senator for New South Wales

‘If you can’t prove you can do that, you should not be allowed to buy the place,’ he told Daily Mail Australia. 

‘There’s one threshold, a simple threshold: when you’re a foreigner and you want to buy land here in Australia – farmland whether it be wineries, dairy or whatever – you show us how you’re going to increase production, increase output, increase exports, increase GDP, increase jobs, increase tax take for Canberra.’

Two years ago, China’s Changyu Pioneer Wine Company bought an 80 per cent stake in Kilikanoon Wines, based in South Australia’s Clare Valley.

Chinese business interests already own an estimated 10 per cent of nearby Barossa Valley vineyards and are possibly eyeing other wineries from the McLaren Vale on the other side of Adelaide to the Margaret River in Western Australia and the Yarra Valley, east of Melbourne. 

Two years ago, China's Changyu Pioneer Wine Company bought an 80 per cent stake in Kilikanoon Wines, based in South Australia's Clare Valley

Two years ago, China’s Changyu Pioneer Wine Company bought an 80 per cent stake in Kilikanoon Wines, based in South Australia’s Clare Valley

Mr Williams feared Australians could soon end up paying more for wine as Chinese vineyard owners exported more of their produce – leaving little for the domestic market.

‘If they take huge supplies out of the market, back to their country, of course that reduces the supply for domestic market – prices will go up for sure,’ he said.

A growing middle-class Chinese market for wines meant Australian agricultural assets, like vineyards, were regarded as lucrative targets.  

‘If China gets bigger, a Communist country, they’re also a very capitalist country – they’ll make money everywhere they can,’ Mr Williams said. 

‘They’ll buy what they can to make money, I’ve done business with them.’

The Foreign Investment Review Board has the power to block foreign purchases of agricultural land if the transaction is worth more than $15million.  

The threshold for foreign interests to buy an agricultural business is $55 million.

Chinese business interests already own an estimated 10 per cent of nearby Barossa Valley vineyards and are possibly eyeing other wineries from the McLaren Vale on the other side of Adelaide to the Margaret River in Western Australia and the Yarra Valley, east of Melbourne

Chinese business interests already own an estimated 10 per cent of nearby Barossa Valley vineyards and are possibly eyeing other wineries from the McLaren Vale on the other side of Adelaide to the Margaret River in Western Australia and the Yarra Valley, east of Melbourne

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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