STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS: Wheat Exports
Mr McCORMACK (Riverina) (13:57): The proposed GrainCorp buyout would put 100 per cent of eastern Australia's grain exports in foreign hands. Is this in the national interest? Worried grain growers in the Riverina do not think so. For the eastern states' grain export facilities to be taken over by American company Archer Daniels Midland would be another nail in the coffin of our agricultural sector and another huge blow to future food security. Surely this takeover bid must ring alarm bells in the heads of some in the Gillard government and the Foreign Investment Review Board to rigorously and vigorously apply Australia's national interest test to this latest proposed buyout?
The $2.7 billion cash offer for GrainCorp from this massive United States corporation will require FIRB approval. GrainCorp operates seven of the nine bulk export terminals on the eastern seaboard and handles around 80 per cent of Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian exports. Its storage and logistics assets encompass more than 280 storage sites—21 million tonnes—and 19 trains.
The Treasurer showed no regard whatsoever when Spanish company Ebro tried to buy SunRice, which stayed in Australian hands and which last year produced 963,000 tonnes and recorded a $33.9 million after-tax profit. The Treasurer showed no regard whatsoever when US owned Cargill bought the Australian Wheat Board. The Treasurer showed no regard whatsoever when Cubbie Station was sold to Chinese interests. It is time the Treasurer stopped being so un-Australian, stood up for what is best for Australia and stepped in to save GrainCorp from becoming— (Time expired)