By KIM VUGA
AUGUST 2, 2019
In 2012 a giant Chinese textile company Shandong Ruyi purchased 80 percent of the largest irrigation farm in the Southern Hemisphere known as Cubbie Station for around $250 million.
Cubbie Station is located just 500 kilometres west of Brisbane and the New South Wales border and is Australia’s largest cotton irrigation property. Cubbie Station sits on 93,700 hectares with 22,100 hectares of irrigated cropping fields.
At the time the sale was approved only on the provision that the company reduces its ownership to 51 percent.
Shandong Ruyi, which owns Cubbie Station alongside Dubbo businessman Roger Fletcher, was originally required to reduce its stake by October 2015.
It was granted a three-year extension by the then treasurer Scott Morrison in mid-2016. Scott Morrison in 2016 demanded that Cubbie Station find an Australian partner.
Today it was announced that Macquarie Bank is the new owner who has acquired a 49 percent stake in the Cubbie Station, which has been approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board.
The deal has been a complex one with discussions having taken place for two years.
Macquarie Bank was established as Hill Australia Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of UK merchant bank Hill Samuel & Co Limited in 1969 and obtained an Australian banking licence as Macquarie Bank in 1985.
The new agreement made between the two companies have committed to voluntarily handover of up to 10 gigalitres of water to the Culgoa River and the Lower Balonne streams where water is most needed. The voluntary water will go to Lower Balonne over a five-day period following any extended dry periods.
Cubbie Station has water licences for 460GL, the equivalent of 184,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. No doubt there is disparity in the water market and unfortunately foreign corporations have rights under our so called free-trade agreements that aren't available to Australians. It is a major concern to see China as one of the major investors in Australian water entitlements.
Cubbie Agriculture chief executive Paul Brimblecombe said Cubbie’s 42 employees would continue in their roles.
The price in which the Macquarie Bank acquired the 49 percent stake has not been disclosed to the public.
Australia must secure our water and put Australian interests first when it comes to water allocation. Has anyone thought about what happens when Australia eventually runs out of water?
For domestic, industrial and agricultural security, we must have a long-range plan for water supply. Water security is a must - No water - No life.
Love Australia or Leave Party will implement Australia’s Greatest National Water Project as A HIGH PRIORITY.
Love Australia or Leave Party is committed to putting in place solutions to solving Australia’s current water shortage crisis and inadequate water to existing water supplies and securing our water for the future: National Water Security