Who owns Australia? Our biggest land barons

news.com.au | 27 May 2020

Who owns Australia? Our biggest land barons

The big land barons who own farming and cattle properties worth billions in Australia come from a surprising number of groups and countries.
Who owns Australia? You’d be surprised to learn that the billion dollar barons of our farmland are a Canadian government worker super fund, a New York teacher insurance fund and an Australian pastoral giant backed by a Dutch pension fund.
These three groups, the Canadian PSP Investments, the New York Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America and Macquarie Agriculture own a total of 6.3 million hectares of our agricultural land, AgJournal has revealed.
While the largest owner of Australian land by size is Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting – with 9.7 million hectares – the hectares owned by the top three are worth more than $7.4 billion.
Country by country, the UK is the biggest foreign investor in Australian farmland, owning 10.2 million hectares, followed by China with 9.2 million and then, each owning two or more million hectares, the US, the Netherlands, the Bahamas and Canada.
This means that 52.6 million hectares out of Australia’s 385 million of agricultural land is foreign-owned, representing 13.6 per cent.
The Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America and College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA CREF), with its subsidiary Nuveen, own 71 properties in prime crop farming regions in four states.
These include land in Jondaryan and the Darling Downs, Queensland, Moree and Warren, NSW, and Watheroo and Gnowangerup, WA.
AgJournal described the group as the biggest global investor in agriculture, owning 850,000ha worldwide, with 286,000 hectares in Australia worth more than $1.7b.
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