The Chinese Are Coming! The Chinese Are Coming! Really, Really Slowly

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They come over here. They buy up all the farmland that we stole. And they don’t assimilate. I am, of course, referring to the impossibly clever Chinese. And we’ll get to the perennially screwed over First Australians in a minute.

Reports out today cast some doubt on the never-ending xenophobia of Australians when it comes to foreigners apparently buying up all our stolen land.

That chorus of alarmism – led by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce with notable assistance from One Nation junkies like Pauline Hanson – repeatedly claims that foreign investment (read that as ‘the Chinese’) are buying up all the prime farmland. Soon, we’ll be completely foreign owned… or so the script goes.

So here’s the facts. The federal government is today preparing to release a register of foreign owned farmland. And what it shows is that the British have purchased by far the most stolen Australian land.

Just over one-eighth (13.6 per cent) of Australia’s 385 million hectares of farmland is foreign owned. And the Brits own just over half that, at about 27.5 million hectares. The US comes in second, with about 7 million hectares.

China owns just 1.4 million hectares – about 2.6 per cent of all foreign-owned land… which equates to less than half of one percent of all Australian farmland.

It’s an interesting development, when compared with the amount of land the original custodians – read that as the folks we flogged the land from in the first place – have been able to get back.

In NSW – the state with unarguably the ‘best’ Aboriginal land rights regime – blackfellas have been able to secure the return of, wait for it… 0.01 per cent of the total NSW land mass.

That’s less than half of half of one percent.

With the ‘foreigners buying up all our land’ mantra now dead, the federal government is expected to focus attention back onto asylum seekers coming to Australia and taking up all our jobs while soaking up all the welfare dollars. While obviously ignoring land rights and First Australians in the process.

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Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. Chris has won a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards for his reporting. He lives in Brisbane and splits his time between Stradbroke Island, where New Matilda is based, and the mainland.

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