AAP FactCheck

Restoring confidence in public statements by independently testing and verifying the facts

Is 25 per cent of land in Tasmania and 30 per cent in the Northern Territory foreign owned?

By Louise Evans and James Lane

The Statement

“Twenty-five per cent of our land in Tasmania is foreign owned, 30 per cent in the Northern Territory, and yet we are not putting the brakes on foreign ownership of our land.”

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson. April 14, 2019.

The Analysis

AAP FactCheck asked Ms Hanson’s office to verify the source of her figures. Ms Hanson’s office said the source was the 2018 Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land report.

The Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land was established in 2015 by the Foreign Investment Review Board to provide greater transparency about the level of foreign ownership of Australia’s agricultural land. [2]

As of June 2018, foreign ownership of Tasmanian farmland was 24.5 per cent, according to the report. Ms Hanson quoted a figure of 25 per cent. The level of foreign ownership in NT was 26.8 per cent according to the report. Ms Hanson said 30 per cent. [3]

Ms Hanson also did not refer to agricultural land. She said “our land”.

Back in September 2016 Katter's Australian Party leader Bob Katter made a similar statement using similar figures but correctly quoted the percentage of foreign-owned farmland in Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

“Thirty per cent of the Northern Territory’s farmland is now foreign-owned, 22 per cent of Tassie; that’s extraordinary,” Mr Katter told The Australian in 2016. [4]

Based on the 2016 Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land, Mr Katter’s claim was found to be true. [5]

He correctly referred to farmland or agricultural land and his figures for foreign ownership tallied with the 2016 report which stated 21.8 per cent for Tasmania and 30.1 for NT. [6]

Ms Hanson’s did not make this distinction. Her figure for NT’s foreign-owned agriculture land was incorrect and dated back to 2016. Her claim that the government has not put the brakes on foreign ownership of land was also incorrect. The source her office said she used to make her claim shows the level of total investment in agricultural lands has dropped slightly from 13.6 per cent in 2016 to 13.4 per cent in 2018. [3] [5]

The Australian Bureau of Statistics told AAP FactCheck there was no data for all foreign-owned land - residential and agricultural - in each state.

The Verdict

  • False - The checkable claims are all false.

The References

1. Paul Murray Live, Sky News TV. April 14, 2019: https://twitter.com/SkyNewsAust/status/1117395359628554241

2: Foreign ownership of Australian farmland grows’. By Jon Condon. Property Central. January 17, 2019: https://www.beefcentral.com/news/foreign-ownership-of-australian-farmland-grows/

3: ‘Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land. Report of registrations as at 30 June 2018’. Australian Taxation Office: https://cdn.tspace.gov.au/uploads/sites/79/2018/12/Register_of_Foreign_Ownership_of_Agr.pdf

4: ‘Farmland foreign ownership register gives size, not value’, by Sue Neale. The Australian. September 10, 2016: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/inquirer/farmland-foreign-ownership-register-gives-size-not-value/news-story/069ab738d196d20637f20f37b41fd0dc

5: ‘FactCheck: Is 30% of Northern Territory farmland and 22% of Tasmanian farmland foreign-owned?’ The Conversation. September 21, 2016: https://theconversation.com/factcheck-is-30-of-northern-territory-farmland-and-22-of-tasmanian-farmland-foreign-owned-65155

6: ‘Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land. Report of registrations as at 30 June 2016’. Australian Taxation Office: https://firb.gov.au/files/2016/08/Register_of_foreign_ownership_of_agricultural_land.pdf

Revision History

  • First published April 15, 2019 16:49 AEST