A RECENT report stated that the Gillard Government has given approval for the sale of the Cubbie Farm, Australia's largest privately-owned farm and water user, to a Chinese-led consortium.
The Cubbie property is 96,000ha and uses 500,000 megalitres of our water a year, which is more than the capacity of Sydney Harbour.
An area of 96,000ha can be described as a strip of land approximately the distance between Ballarat and Melbourne and 10 kilometres wide.
The massive farm dams and usage have seemingly reduced the amount of water available to the battling farmers in Australia's food and wine belt trying to remain sustainable and meet increasing demand.
Also, heritage-listed wetlands in NSW have also suffered because of the reduced environmental flows into the Murray Darling system.
The consortium will be controlled by the Chinese textile company Shandong RuYi.
Can we expect that the cotton crops grown and harvested will be transported back to the Chinese manufacturing industries to manufacture shirts, socks and jocks and send them back to us?
What has happened to our manufacturing industry that we can't process the cotton here in Australia and create meaningful employment?
In a letter to the editor, on August 21, the local MHR Catherine King stated that "our agricultural industry has relied on foreign investment for 200 years". But I wonder if the early investors transferred the crops back to their own countries or had it processed here in Australia thus creating employment.
Ms King also stated that "foreign ownership of our land has risen from 5.9 per cent to 6 per cent".
If we look at the area of Australia and consider that the foreign-owned area of our land is six per cent (and growing) then this is the equivalent of nearly twice the size of Victoria or more than six times the area of Tasmania.
In the same edition of The Courier, Chinese-owned Yancoal announced that it was reviewing expansion plans and was focusing on reducing costs, including contractors and consulting costs, at all of its seven coal mines in Queensland and NSW. Yancoal is the biggest Chinese-controlled entity listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and its parent shareholder is Yanzhou Coal, one of China's largest international mining groups.
We should be concerned and aware that we Aussies don't own all of our country.