In the media

Visas being offered in Hunter Valley land grab

As a former Deputy Mayor on the Cessnock Shire Council, I am appalled to hear that a property developer, Jiang Xiao from Profit Palace Group, is claiming to offer access to ‘132 Visas’ and high profile political figures, in a land purchase deal, in the Hunter Valley.

The 132 Visa is a ‘Business Talent’ visa for people less than 55 years of age, who can demonstrate significant business and investment capability and a capacity to create jobs that will make a significant contribution to the New South Wales economy.

I applaud the federal government for their swift crackdown on Mr Xiao’s claims and their launch of an investigation into the matter. I also hope that any involvement that the NSW government may have had in this scheme is also looked into, because to be eligible for this visa, one must be nominated by a state government agency and be invited to apply for the visa. I hope that no NSW politician or public servant is found to have been a party to this alleged backdoor entry ‘deal’ into Australia.

The Hunter Valley is a stunning part of New South Wales with our vineyards being scooped up by investors. Australian wines, especially reds, are highly sought after in the Asian market, with $853 million in wine sales going to China, Hong Kong and Macau from 2016-2017. Our exports to China grew by 47% in 2017 and even outperformed the value of our US, UK, Canadian and New Zealand Markets.

I am 100% supportive of our produce being exported to the rest of the world because I am proud of the quality that Australians produce, but we must preserve our assets and not sell them off, especially using our generous visa program and certainly not through government corruption.