Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last night tackled foreign investment in Australian properties, flagging a hardline approach that favours joint ventures over outright ownership.
In the third and final leader’s debate, held at the Rooty Hill RSL in western Sydney, Mr Abbott said he supported full foreign ownership of Australian properties, “with extra safeguards”.
According to the Australian Financial Review, that all but confirms Coalition policy would be to lower the $244 million threshold at which the Foreign Investment Review Board would scrutinise private bids for land to $15 million.
In reply, Mr Rudd said he preferred foreign investment to be on a joint venture basis.
“We need to take a more cautious approach to this in the future without throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” he said.
“I think when it is about rural land and land more generally, we need to adopt a more cautious approach.
“We should not have open slather.”
Mr Rudd also raised concerns about small suppliers being squeezed out by supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths.
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