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Treasurer not concerned about China buying Aussie farms as $600m sale looms

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The Treasurer insists there aren’t any significant concerns around China buying up Australian farms as the $600-million sale of Lion Dairy and Drinks is considered.

The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is looking into the deal which would see China Mengniu Dairy Company take control of several major Australian brands including, Dairy Farmers, Pura, Berri and Daily Juice.

This business is currently owned by a Japanese company but there are concerns over the Chinese government’s 16 per cent stake in Mengniu.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg wouldn’t weigh-in on the specific case as the FIRB reviews it but tells Alan Jones there are no overarching concerns about Chinese investment.

“The reality is, China is the fifth-largest foreign investor in Australia. They’re behind the US, they’re behind Japan, the United Kingdom and even the Netherlands.

“In the most recent data around foreign ownership in the agriculture sector, it was around 13 per cent.”

But Alan points out 77 per cent of Australia’s dairy processing is now owned by foreign investors.

Mr Frydenberg insists he will block any sale that isn’t in the national interest but Alan believes he’s listening to bureaucrats rather than Aussie farmers.

“You’re always too busy listening to the bureaucrats, Josh!”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview