Central Highlands properties attract European investor interest

Recent grazing sales and equity position buy-ins in the Central Queensland area by North American Funds seem to have started a wider interest in agricultural investment in irrigation and tree cropping in the rich Central Highlands region.

Emerald Land and Cattle Company managing director Kerry Hayes says that the security of water allocations and the diverse soil types endemic to the Nogoa and Comet River Valleys are ticking boxes with risk averse fund managers.

Several factors are driving the current interest, with favourable exchange rates being a major advantage and world protein demand being another.

Most of the focus lately has been on Chinese interest in rural Australia but there are several other overseas investors that already have some existing history in agriculture in Queensland that understand the ongoing management and human resources challenges a bit better and therefore are at a distinct advantage when it comes to acquisitions. These companies are bullish on traditional row cropping opportunities but have also indicated an interest in establishing permanent tree crops particularly nuts, following on from the major purchases by the Zadro Family Holdings in the Emerald area.

Since the development of the Fitzroy catchment with the Fairbairn Dam and downstream weirs, the area has built up a reliability history which coupled with the fact that delivery system has not been “over allocated” means there is a consistency in production and a reduced risk to cashflows for Fund entities seeking to invest in the Nogoa-Mackenzie section of the basin.

Interest is very much tied to water allocations said Mr Hayes and we expect that any sales that may flow through from these groups will definitely evolve around properties with significant water entitlements.

However, the availability of these sorts of properties is quite scarce said Mr Hayes and opportunities are few, so we expect those listings that are available to attract very close scrutiny.

Contact Kerry Hayes for more information 0418776550 or via email.


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