Barnaby softens public position on foreign investment stance

Barnaby Joyce
Barnaby Joyce

LONG outspoken on foreign investment in Australian land, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has softened his public position on the issue since being ushered into the Coalition Cabinet.

Despite recent comments indicating his opposition to a multi-billion dollar takeover of Graincorp, Mr Joyce told Queensland primary producers they should not expect "new controversy" from him.

His comments, made at an AgForce conference in Townsville, also indicated he would continue to fight such investments behind closed doors.

However, The Australian reported on Friday Mr Joyce said he wanted to "give (the issue) room to breathe".

In his first official speech in the new role, Mr Joyce told the conference to "judge me by my track record" on the issue, saying he could not "achieve delivery by backing someone into a corner".

The comments come as the Graincorp takeover proposal by Archer Daniels Midlands still faces approval from Chinese authorities and Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board.

But should the FIRB approve the buy-out of Australia's largest grain handler, it will come down to a decision by Treasurer Joe Hockey.

The proposal has forced a wedge into the early days of the new Coalition Government, with Mr Hockey understood to be at odds with both Mr Joyce and new Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss on the takeover.

Topics:  agriculture barnaby joyce coalition government federal election 2013 primary producers

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