Senator Penny Wong accused Coalition critics of foreign investment of xenophobia.

Senator Penny Wong accused Coalition critics of foreign investment of xenophobia, She said critics were reflecting “unjust­ified fears fomented by shock jocks and others pushing an anti-investment political agenda”

In a speech strongly defending the importance of overseas capital in the farm sector. “Foreign-owned farms generate economic benefits for the wider community just like domestically owned farms,” she told the Global Food Forum, supported by The Australian and Visy.

Labor opposed the Coalition’s decision to lower the threshold for foreign investment in farmland without the scrutiny of the Foreign Investment Review Board to $15 million.

It contends that the threshold should be $50m, the same level that is applied in Australia’s trade agreements with Thailand and Singapore, which would still catch the Kidman sale.

Labor has said it would abolish the Coalition’s special treatment of agribusiness altogether.

The Coalition has legislated a $55m threshold on screening of manufacturing businesses associated with the food industry.

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