Cubbie Station, the largest irrigation property in the southern hemisphere, is located near Dirranbandi, in south west Queensland, Australia. The station comprises 96,000 hectares (240,000 acres) and is managed by the Lempriere Group, on behalf of CS Agriculture, a joint venture between Lempriere and Shandong Ruyi, a textile manufacturer owned by investors from China and Japan.
|Location||near Dirranbandi, Queensland, Australia|
|Area||96,000 hectares (240,000 acres)|
|Operated by||Lempriere Group for CS Agriculture, a subsidiary of Shandong Ruyi|
Cotton was first produced in the region from the late 1970s. In 1983, Cubbie Station was converted from grazing purposes to cotton production. Cubbie Station comprises agricultural and non-agricultural lands; with approximately 22,000 hectares (54,000 acres) presently developed and a further 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) under development.
The station was created by amalgamating twelve floodplain properties to give Cubbie a total of fifty-one licences. The station's water storage dams stretch for more than 28 kilometres (17 mi) along the Culgoa River, within the Murray-Darling basin. In an average year the station uses 200,000 megalitres (7,100×106 cu ft) of water, in a good year as much as 500,000 megalitres (18,000×106 cu ft).
The water is used to supply 130 square kilometres (50 sq mi) of irrigated cotton and other crops including wheat, which generates a net profit in the range of A$50 million to A$80 million a year.
The station is licensed to take 460,000 megalitres (16,000×106 cu ft), the equivalent of all irrigation entitlements downstream in north-western NSW. The property has the capacity to grow 200 square kilometres (77 sq mi) of cotton. In 2006, the dams on the property were filled to 1% capacity allowing for only 200 hectares (490 acres) of cotton planting. The station is often derided for its large water usage requirements in a time of extreme drought in Australia and damage to the Murray Darling river system
On 29 October 2009, Cubbie Group Limited, the former owner of Cubbie Station, announced it would voluntarily enter administration on the following day. The company had incurred debts of over A$300 million, as a result of poor rainfall in the region in the preceding five years. Corporate recovery specialists, McGrathNicol, were appointed as Administrators of the Cubbie Group on 30 October 2009.
Purchase of Cubbie StationEdit
On 31 August 2012 the Australian Government, on advice from the Foreign Investment Review Board, approved the sale of Cubbie Group, to a consortium comprising Shandong RuYi Scientific & Technological Group Co Ltd, a clothing and textile company owned by Chinese and Japanese investors, and Lempriere Group, an Australian family-owned company involved in wool trading and agricultural property management. The approval provided RuYi with an 80% initial ownership interest on condition that this interest be reduced to 51% within three years. The interest is to be sold to an independent third party. The consortium are bound by existing water licence conditions and the property is operated and managed by the Australian company using the existing workforce.
The purchase of Cubbie Station by foreign interests had the support of the major opposition party in the Australian Parliament, the Liberal Party. However, there was dissension amongst some members of the Nationals, who had concerns with foreign-ownership of agricultural land and water rights, claiming that the sale is not in Australia's national interest.
The purchase of Cubbie Group by the joint venture CS Agriculture was completed on 25 January 2013, for an estimated purchase price of A$240 million.
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