There is now no doubt, there is unquestionable evidence that the Premier of Western Australia, The Hon Colin Barnett, MEc. MLA. Minister for State Development; Science and the Hon Ken C. Baston, Minister for Food; Fisheries, are intent upon doing everything they can to secure more Chinese investment into West Australian agriculture. How they are going to do it?
They are going to hold an investment conference especially for the Chinese. Mr Barnett and Mr Baston are certainly not standing still:
Western Australia – China Agribusiness Cooperation Conference.
State Reception Centre, Kings Park, Perth
9 -11 April 2014
Mr Barnett has led delegations of business people from Western Australia to China to further cement relationships and to forge new ones.
I don’t think it would be unfair to call Colin Barnett a Chinaphile.
There has always been a belief among the majority of West Australians that ‘Chinese’ investment in Western Australia in the past has been conditional upon the imprimatur, and investment of the Central Government of the People’s Republic of China.
In other words the Government of China is always involved somewhere in the deal as an equity partner. Mr Barnett must be aware of this and be unconcerned that a sovereign state is investing in and becoming an owner of, Australian freehold property.
As far as I am aware it has never been denied that the Chinese government will be a equity partner in any investment in Australia.
Recently Mr Barnett was critical of Australia’s foreign investment rules, claiming they were sending the wrong message to China. Mr Barnett said that the United States could invest more than $1 billion in Australia without being subject to Foreign Investment Review Board Rules, but it was different for China’s state owned enterprises where any level of investment from $1 up was subject to review.
Mr Barnett believed this caused resentment in China.
In July 2013 speaking from Zhejiang province in China Mt Barnett said he believed the Chinese were not seeking to own Australian land – they just wanted to protect their investment for food and have a secure relationship with Australia.
Yet the previous month, June 2013, the Queensland Country Life reported that Chinese investors had spent $757 million in the first quarter of 2013 buying land in Australia, with WA, according to Landmark – Harcourts, topping the charts with sales of $350 million. True or false? We may never know.
Well, whatever is the truth, what the Premier really believes will be revealed on April 9 2014. Continue reading “The China Enigma”