Submission:

Response to the House Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Reforms Inquiry into Superannuation Fund Investment in Agriculture

22 June 2018

BDO welcomed the opportunity to provide feedback in response to the House Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Reforms Inquiry into Superannuation Fund Investment in Agriculture on 22 June 2018.

Our submission recommends:  

  • Where FIRB approval is provided for an investment, foreign pension funds should be allowed to own (up to an agreed percentage e.g. 15%/20% of issued units) units in a Pooled Superannuation Trust (PST) whilst allowing the PST to maintain its tax concessional status – this would assist with improving liquidity of investment as Australian funds could sell their PST units to another superfund which is easier than a sale of an entire, albeit smaller, agribusiness
  • Tax concessions be provided to increase the attractiveness of working in the agribusiness including exempting individuals who work in an agribusiness in a regional area from the luxury car tax, HECS relief for individuals who choose to work in agribusiness, tax rebates for working in remote areas in agribusiness and regional scholarships – this would increase in the talent pool available to agribusinesses and ultimately support increased profitability
  • Tax concessions to smooth out the cash flow fluctuations or initial cash flow requirements for an agribusiness such as stamp duty relief to investment in agribusiness and income tax relief by providing an option to treat the acquisition and eventual sale of land and water on revenue account instead of on capital account – this would enable superannuation funds to have greater confidence in investing in the agriculture sector 

These and other issues are expanded upon in the attached appendix to the submission.