Grow investment confidence

26 Apr, 2014 02:00 AM
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WA Alcoa Farmlands manager and WA Beef Council Chairman Tony Hiscock said foreign investment isn't a matter of people just coming in and buying WA farms.
China has (made) a great act of trust in WA in terms of agribusiness.
WA Alcoa Farmlands manager and WA Beef Council Chairman Tony Hiscock said foreign investment isn't a matter of people just coming in and buying WA farms.

FOREIGN investors are being urged to build business partnerships instead of business transactions.

WA Alcoa Farmlands manager and WA Beef Council Chairman Tony Hiscock said foreign investment isn't a matter of people just coming in and buying WA farms.

"There is some criticism of foreign investment coming to WA and buying up property or assets," Mr Hiscock said.

"We have offered them a hand, and extended an invitation for them to see what we are doing, how we do things and ask them if they would like to participate in this industry with us.

"It's not about a take over or a transaction, dealing with real estate and property, these are genuine inquiries to invest into our State."

Premier Colin Barnett told Farm Weekly last week that the WA agriculture industry needed to continue to instil confidence in foreign business partners to work with the State.

"We need to build confidence in those relationships, which will build market and income security to farmers, which is the overall objective," Mr Barnett said.

"Investors have been buying farms, as they are still nervous about their investment and that's a result of bad experiences they have had with other countries, not from here."

Mr Barnett said WA would need to continue to build commercial business relationships.

"This will grow more secure markets to farmers and give them more certainty of price and attract some investment into on-farm improvements," Mr Barnett said.

The Premier said that WA agribusiness had already come a long way in building relationship ties, including this month's WA-China conference, visits to the regions and the famous Ord River project,.

But we needed to continue that relationship growth and development.

"China has (made) a great act of trust in WA in terms of agribusiness," Mr Barnett said.

"We have definitely made a friend in the agriculture business."

Mr Hiscock said the WA beef industry is small, and as a result the supply chain network needs to build confidence, work together and attract the investment for the future.

"We have to build some confidence and trust within our industry," Mr Hiscock said.

"We need to know what each of us requires, north and south, processors and producers, domestically and through export.

"We need a real cultural change among the supply chain network because the only way to see real growth within WA beef, is engaging foreign investment into our supply chain."

The doors have already been opened in recent years and with recent events, forums, signing of the Memorandum of Understanding and Free Trade Agreements, farm visits and growth in business relationships and governments, opportunities are in abundance.

"We have seen it with the Chinese delegation in Perth this month and the signing of the MoU to trial live exports, and investors visiting farming properties,'' he said.

"Investors expressed an interest in our supply chain and wish to be integrating into it."

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