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New rules will require farmers to advertise their property to locals before it is sold to foreign investors.

The Federal Government will require farm land be marketed to Australian bidders for a minimum of 30 days and provide the opportunity for Australians to participate in the sale process.

Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said any acquisitions of agricultural land for residential development would require development to commence within a five year period to prevent land banking.  This condition already applies to acquisitions of vacant land.

Mr Chester said the new rules were in response to concerns some properties were being sold overseas without being advertised locally.

“We want to make sure local farmers get a fair chance to buy Australian farms, so we have brought in new rules that require sellers have to advertise their property to the locals,” Mr Chester said.

“We want transparency and integrity in foreign sales of our farmland.

“That’s why we created the farm land ownership register, which shows us how much of our land is owned by foreign interests.

“We also changed the rules so foreign purchases of land worth more than $15 million face a national interest test.”

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