Pollution driving Chinese demand for Australian farming land
Chinese demand for Australian land will continue to rise due to increasing contamination of soil and waterways in China, according to the fourth edition of the influential China Story Yearbook, produced by The Australian National University (ANU).
The China Story Yearbook 2015: Pollution is an examination of pollution of the environment and metaphorical pollution of the body politic, a subject that was on the minds of most Chinese government officials as well as ordinary citizens in 2015.
One of the key issues addressed in the latest Yearbook is how China's Communist Party-state tackles the problems of pollution and how Chinese citizens have coped with living in chronic, worsening pollution.
Co-Editor Dr Luigi Tomba of the ANU Australian Centre on China in the World said pollution was impacting China's ability to produce enough high quality food to feed its population.
"China has a limited amount of land and water that can be used for agriculture. This is compounded by the fact that a massive amount of soil and water is contaminated," Dr Tomba said.
The demand for high quality food meant China was turning to countries like Australia for a solution.
"We now know that around 0.5 per cent of agricultural land in Australia is owned by Chinese," he said.
"Australia has more than half of the world's organic land, so is one of the largest producers of organic food.
"With China going outside to try and solve its domestic problems, this poses both risks and opportunities for Australia."
In 2016, Chinese investors have purchased the 22,000 hectare Van Diemen's Land Company in Tasmania and attempted to buy the Kidman & Co properties, which stretches across three states and the Northern Territory.