To the dismay of Australia's biggest private landowner, the government has decided that the sale of an area the size of Kentucky to Chinese investors is not in the national interest. The Australian government has blocked the $350 million sale of parcels of land totaling almost 40,000 square miles, citing national security issues relating to one of the enormous cattle ranches involved, reports the Guardian. The Anna Creek cattle station, which covers more than 3,000 square miles, borders South Australia's Woomera military weapons testing range. The government noted that the area up for sale covers 1.3% of Australia's landmass, and 2.6% of its agricultural land.
A spokesman for S. Kidman and Co., which had been weighing bids from two Chinese companies, says he's surprised by the government's objection. "To be honest, I didn't think this would be the outcome," he tells the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "I knew there would be concerns; however, cyber-espionage around the world seems to operate quite successfully in its own right without the need to acquire an Outback cattle property like Anna Creek."