The sale of the Cambria Green Estate on Tasmania’s East Coast has been referred to the Foreign Investment Review Board.
But the project’s Hong Kong-born and Melbourne-based proponent says there’s no case for him to answer.
The Glamorgan Spring Bay Council voted to amend planning rules in 2018 to give the $138 million Dolphin Sands development the green light.
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But now the Tasmanian Conservation Trust has written to the FIRB, requesting it examine the sale.
TCT director Peter McGlone said the 12 land titles comprising the estate had been sold in parcels for a total of $5,071,500, which, at that time, was below the FIRB’s threshold for scrutiny.
The buyer, Cambria Green Agriculture & Tourism Management, is backed by Chinese investors.
“According to data from Rural Bank on Tasmanian farmland, the market value may have been as high as $23,725,132,” Mr McGlone said.
Through the Land Tasmania database, the TCT says it found that of the 12 titles, two were bought by one Australian-listed company. Meanwhile, six Hong Kong-listed companies purchased one each and the remaining four titles were bought by Chinese businessman Keijing Liu.
“Of these seven companies, all but one have only one shareholder – Keijing Liu,” Mr McGlone said.
“We have asked the FIRB to examine the sale to determine who the true beneficial owners are and whether the sale prices contained in Land Tasmania’s database were the actual prices paid.”
Cambria Green Agriculture & Tourism Management chief executive Ronald Hu said the sale had been completed correctly under national and state regulations.
“As part of that process in 2014, the FIRB has been fully informed and involved,” he said.
In November last year, the Tasmanian Planning Commission ruled that it couldn’t be satisfied that landowner consent requirements had been met for the development, after Mr Liu’s signature appeared on owner consent letters from seven companies.
The development is currently before the Supreme Court after the proponent challenged the TPC’s ruling.
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