Critical capital doesn’t have to be foreign
Foreign investment is not critical for Australia’s agribusiness, and existing savings are only one part of our potential capital. During the Global Financial Crisis the impromptu network of financial transactions was hundreds of times greater than savings.
Money can be added to the economy by government transfers, banks creating money by lending it, government securities, quantitative easing, and so on, and the expertise brought in by foreign investment can be purchased without compromising national security.
The Federal government could fund the basic research we need and allow enterprises to decide how to run the projects for the benefit of Australia. The assets are the key, not money, and trade – the province of everyone – is the best mechanism for managing them.
The owner controls the asset. Cubbie Station is strategic for Australia’s food and water security. It’s not just a simplistic money-is-money issue. The land is not going to be exported but the control, and hence use, can be.
Coordination between government and private enterprise would facilitate our strategic opportunities and make Australian industry a world leader. We just have to get over our cringe about it.