Foreign Investment Law
The Foreign Acquisition and Takeover Act 1975 (Cth) governs the investment by foreigners in Australia.
The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is a non-statutory body that advises the Government on foreign investment policy and its administration. The Board examines proposals by foreign interests to undertake direct investment in Australia and makes recommendations to the Government on whether those proposals are suitable for approval under the Government’s policy.
We advise both foreign investors and potential Australian sellers of their rights and obligations under the law.
All foreign government investors are required to obtain foreign investment approval before acquiring any interest in rural land, regardless of the value. This is consistent with the Government’s longstanding practice.
From 1 March 2015, privately-owned foreign investors must get prior approval for a proposed acquisition of an interest in rural land where the cumulative value of rural land that the foreign person (and any associates) already hold exceeds, or immediately following the proposed acquisition is likely to exceed $15 million except those from the United States, New Zealand, Chile ($1094 million), Singapore and Thailand ($50 million).
From 1 July 2015, foreign persons and foreign government investors holding interests in agricultural land must register those interests with the Australian Taxation Office (regardless of value of that land). All existing holdings must be registered by 31 December 2015 and any new interests be registered within 30 days.
FIRB set out the threshold amounts for foreign investments in real estate, business and agricultural land.
Further information can be obtained from FIRB website www.firb.gov.au