A delegation from the House of Representatives economics committee will today begin a week-long visit to China where it will canvass the growing investment in Australia’s residential housing by cashed-up Chinese investors, reports Phillip... Hudson in The Australian 29/7.
Australia still does not maintain proper records of foreign investment in housing farms and all other real estate, including investment by companies owned by the Chinese communist government. Nor has the promised register of such investment has not yet been established.
Phillip Heath Hudson reports that Australia and China enter the final stages of negotiating a free trade agreement and ahead of President Xi Jinping’s planned state visit to Australia in November. In these negotiations Australia has little to offer as previous government shave unilaterally given these away. The Chinese will expect even more.
''The delegation is being led by committee chair, Kelly O’Dwyer, who is joined by fellow Liberals Peter Hendy and Scott Buchholz and Labor’s Pat Conroy.''.
The trip coincides with the committee’s inquiry into foreign investment in real estate which is being held amid community claims that wealthy non-resident Chinese investors are buying up housing and forcing up prices.
The committee has heard evidence that the Chinese were the biggest real estate investors, spending $5.9bn last year.
It also comes amid scrutiny about the rules covering investment in Australia by Chinese state owned enterprises.
This is not the reason for the trip but the MPs will have the chance to get China’s perspective about the sensitive foreign investment issues.
Ms O’Dwyer said on the issue of state-owned enterprises, it would be useful for the debate in Australia for the committee to “understand better the way they make investment decisions”.
And on the question of Chinese investment in housing, she said the trip would provide the opportunity to ask relevant questions to Chinese banks.
“It is not the purpose of the trip but it provides the opportunity to explore and understand matters more fully,” she said.
“I’m interested in exploring what happens in China. For example, are non-resident foreign investors able to purchase property in China?”