Nats split over Cubbie sale

03 Sep, 2012 08:09 AM
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THE fate of Cubbie station has divided opinion in the community around the massive irrigation farm and pitted Nationals MP Bruce Scott against local resident and Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce, who covets his seat.

Relations between the two politicians have grown increasingly strained as the party is expected to call for nominations for Mr Scott's federal seat of Maranoa in south-west Queensland towards the end of this month.

Senator Joyce has been the most outspoken critic of the possible sale of Cubbie to a consortium headed by Chinese investors. The deal was approved by Treasurer Wayne Swan on Friday, but is yet to be finalised.

Senator Joyce's concerns were in no way mollified by the conditions imposed by Mr Swan, including that the Chinese investors, Shandong Ruyi, sell down their 80 per cent stake to no more than 51 per cent within three years and offer jobs to all staff.

"We're in a position where we're reticent to say the word 'Chinese' because it might insult the Chinese, but somehow we can hold them in the future to these conditions, to the payment of tax, to abiding by water licence conditions, which is one of the most contested parts of agricultural law?" Senator Joyce said.

His views were in marked contrast to those of Mr Scott, who said it was up to the Foreign Investment Review Board, not politicians, to decide if the sale was in the national interest.

"That's the process we have to go through and I respect that," Mr Scott said after reports on Friday that the FIRB had recommended the sale be allowed.

"The most important thing is that it continues as an operating farm, creating jobs locally."

Senator Joyce, who lives in St George, near Cubbie Station, has said he will be "out of a job" if he does not campaign against the sale to Chinese investors.

"We have just sold, by reason of Mr Swan, up to 13 per cent of Australia's cotton crop and the biggest water licence in our country," he said after Mr Swan's decision on Friday.

The Australian Financial ReviewSource: http://www.afr.com
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READER COMMENTS

Bushie Bill
3/09/2012 9:17:44 AM

Bruce Scott has more brains in his toenails than that paranoid populist Boofhead Barney, who you just know has the Joh Belke Petersen approach to governance, equity and ethics, could muster in a life time.
Loc Hey
3/09/2012 11:03:16 AM

Spoken by someone so paranoid of all things rural, that you can be sure he has never been outside his own backdoor BB ?
Farmer Ted.
3/09/2012 6:24:40 PM

Bruce Scott is one of the bookworms who almost wiped out wool and handed the export trade for wheat and with it all the profits from wheat trading to foreign traders. Time for him to go.
Trugger
4/09/2012 3:28:59 AM

Bushie, whilst you might have some good reasons to be favorable toward foreign investment in Aussie ag, you don't seem to be aware of the experience other countries have had with the Chinese in an almost identical situation as Cubby. There they took all the water upstream of the Niger River wetlands and in a year of high rainfall, the wetlands farmers starved. To compound it, they exported a huge grain crop back to China and the starvation of the locals was ensured. On top of that the Nigerian govt got bugger all tax from them as they "sold" the grain at cost of production. Cont.
Trugger
4/09/2012 3:40:12 AM

Bushie, If you had bothered to check, you would have found that there are holes in our taxation law that you could drive a road train through. There is no reason to expect the Chinese to behave any differently here. They will be able to bastardise the cotton market by "selling" the cotton to themselves at the cost of production so that they technically show a loss in their operations. Thereby -escaping the Australian taxation system. And the water? If you think they won't grab as much water as they want all the time, you're naive. No Bushie, it is not xenophobia, this is what they're like.
fairgro
4/09/2012 4:18:30 AM

while it is disappointing that we seem not to have the resources or will to retain these iconic assets, of greater importance is retaining our ginning industry. Look at what dairy and canned fruit has had to endure since their processors have been sold to overseas interests. With Namoi Cotton the only major local ginner probably about to meet the same fate, we can expect massive processing increases such as St George growers have had to endure since the sale of Qld Cotton overseas. Too late do we wake up and realise the processors are key. Then Graincorp. last out turn off the lights
Sir Les P
4/09/2012 4:59:37 AM

As Barnaby says split the joint up thats the best way,i bet the the receivers are rubbing their hands together.
Jed
4/09/2012 6:16:59 AM

The media is full of the new term Troll which is used to discribe people like Bushie Bill who hide behind made up names to attack people like Barnaby for their own sick Political Agenda. The term Troll appears right in Bills case. Keep up the good work Barnaby!
Hanrahan
4/09/2012 8:02:26 AM

We'll all be rooned. The furriners are coming.
Bushie Bill
4/09/2012 11:25:00 AM

Truggs, the Nigerians were really dumb, weren't they (if what you say is true-I'll bet it isn't)? Do you think we are equally as dumb? Your second post relating to cost of production sales is not possible to avoid tax. Find out what the ATO can do in relation to transfer pricing. If you know of "holes in our taxation law that you could drive a road train through", you should set yourself up as a qualified tax consultant. You would make a fortune.
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