Mr PURCELL (Western Victoria) — The matter I raise tonight is for the attention of the Minister for Agriculture. Foreign ownership is a problem throughout Victoria. Currently there is a great deal of uncertainty in western Victoria regarding a plan by Linear Capital to create a major new dairy company in Australia. Over the last 12 months the company has been negotiating with more than 70 farmers in western Victoria to purchase their properties for this investment. The details of who is financially backing the plan are sketchy, with unknown information being spread about the source of the capital being from China, possibly Canada or possibly from other regions.
Time lines for this project have blown out substantially, and there is a large amount of anecdotal evidence that uncertainty around the proposal is affecting the cash flows of these communities, with farmers who are involved in the project reducing their spending under these circumstances.
I ask the minister to obtain and provide greater detail on this proposal and to support the western dairy community and agricultural sector during this period of uncertainty before irreversible damage is done to the industry.