The AFPA said it appreciates the Foreign Investment Review Board’s (FIRB) right to assess the national interest in significant foreign purchases of sensitive national assets, but this should be balanced with the need to attract new overseas capital into regional agribusiness such as the forestry and forest products sector.

With more than $3 billion of investment over the past five years, which has secured jobs and provided opportunities for growth, the forestry and forest products sector is a case study of the positive role overseas capital can play in rural Australia.

The United States, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Norway and Sweden have all made significant capital investments across the entire forestry and forest products value chain. Softwood and hardwood plantations, forest management, sawmills and processing operations, pulp and paper, and woodchip exporters have all welcomed capital from abroad.

AFPA’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ross Hampton, said “Overseas buyers have been welcome and added enormously to our ability to upscale our industry and take advantage of strong and growing international demand for forest fibre products.

“New owners have introduced new management strategies, new technologies and led to improved efficiency of operations,” he said.