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Policy

1. Current Policy

Australia's Foreign Investment Policy provides an overview of Australia's foreign investment regime.

Australia's Foreign Investment Policy (2013)

English PDF RTF
Australia's Foreign Investment Policy (includes the 'Policy Statement: Foreign Investment in Agriculture') PDF [569KB] RTF [668KB]
Foreign language versions*

澳大利亚的外国投资审批政策
Chinese (simplified characters)

PDF [383KB]

RTF [1MB]

Kebijakan Investasi Asing Australia
Indonesian (Bahasa)

PDF [208KB]

RTF [647KB]

オーストラリアの外資受入政策
Japanese

PDF [396KB]

RTF [1MB]

*In the event of any inconsistency between a foreign language version and the English version, the English version prevails.

A Chinese traditional characters translation of the Policy (prepared by the Australian Commerce and Industry Office, Taipei 澳大利亞商工辦事處台北) is available here 澳大利亞外國投資審核政策.

2. Recent Changes to Policy

See also Press Releases and Policy Statements at Publications.

1 March 2013 – Investment Protocol with New Zealand in force

Under Australia's Foreign Investment Policy, non‑government New Zealand investors will now receive access to the same treatment as United States investors. For further information please refer to the Policy (see above).

1 January 2013 – 2013 indexed thresholds

The indexed monetary thresholds for 2013 are $248 million and $1,078 million. The developed non-residential commercial real estate (not heritage listed) for 2013 is $54 million.

1 January 2012 – 2012 indexed thresholds

The indexed monetary thresholds for 2012 are $244 million and $1,062 million. The developed non-residential commercial real estate (not heritage listed) threshold is also now indexed and for 2012 is $53 million.

16 February 2011 – Investment Protocol with New Zealand

On 16 February, the Australian and New Zealand Prime Ministers signed the Investment Protocol to the Australia‑New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement.

The Investment Protocol obliges Australia to provide New Zealand investors the treatment that applies to United States investors. In return, non‑government Australian investors investing in significant business assets in New Zealand will receive a threshold of NZ$477 million (up from NZ$100 million). These thresholds are indexed annually and now apply.

The Investment Protocol and associated documents are available on the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) website.

1 January 2011 – 2011 indexed thresholds

On 1 January, the $1,004 million threshold that applied to US investors in 2010 was indexed to $1,005 million. The $231 million threshold from 2010 remained unchanged.

30 June 2010 – release of a new version of Australia's Foreign Investment Policy

On 30 June, a plain English version of Australia's Foreign Investment Policy was released.

24 April 2010 – changes to residential real estate rules

On 24 April 2010, the Government announced changes to the screening of foreign investment in residential real estate. From 24 April, temporary residents need to notify the Government and receive approval before buying residential real estate in Australia (these changes were confirmed through regulations, which commenced on 26 May 2010 - see Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Amendment Regulations 2010 (No. 2)).

Temporary residents may apply to buy vacant land on which to build (subject to development conditions), new dwellings and/or an established (second-hand) dwelling to be used as their residence in Australia. Where the Government provides approval to buy an established dwelling, it will be subject to a condition that the temporary resident sells the property when it ceases to be their residence.

Applications to buy established dwellings for investment purposes will not be approved. See how to apply for more details.

22 September 2009 – changes to monetary thresholds

On 22 September 2009, the Government replaced the four lowest thresholds for private business investment ($100 million, $110 million, $200 million and $219 million) with a single threshold of 15 per cent in a business worth $219 million.  The Government committed to index this threshold annually.  As such, it was increased to $231 million on 1 January 2010.

The Government also abolished the requirement that private investors notify proposals to establish a new business in Australia valued above $10 million.

12 February 2009 – amendments to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975

On 12 February 2009, the Government announced amendments to clarify the operation of the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (the FATA) to ensure that it applies equally to all foreign investments irrespective of the way they are structured. The amendments are intended to capture complex investment structures which may provide avenues of control beyond that provided through traditional shares or voting power. The amending legislation, the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Amendment Act 2010 received Royal Assent on 12 February 2010. However, the amendments apply retrospectively, from the date of the Treasurer's announcement.

The Government has also made Regulations to coincide with the amendments. The Regulations will ensure that Australian companies are not inadvertently treated as foreign companies under the FATA by virtue of the expanded definition of substantial interest.

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