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Labor takes swipe at 'bizarre' foreign investment rules

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Federal Labor has taken a swipe at the government’s foreign investment rules as the Senate prepares to debate new laws.

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The government wants the Foreign Investment Review Board to screen investments in agricultural land worth more than $15 million.

“They would create the bizarre position where the screening threshold for genuinely sensitive sectors like uranium extraction or defence industries would be nearly five times higher than for food manufacturing,” opposition trade spokeswoman Penny Wong wrote in The Australian.

Labor amendments aim to remove the requirements for screening of investments in agribusiness worth more than $55 million.

It will also seek to increase the threshold for agricultural land to a non-cumulative $55m, the level provided for under Howard-era free trade agreements.

Wong said the new rules target the very industries that need capital to scale up so they could take advantage of export opportunities in our region.

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