1. Current Policy
Australia's Foreign Investment Policy provides an overview of Australia's foreign investment regime.
Australia's Foreign Investment Policy (2015)
|Australia's Foreign Investment Policy||PDF [678KB]||DOC [151KB]|
|Foreign language versions*|
Chinese (simplified characters)
|PDF [661KB]||RTF [1.3MB]|
| Kebijakan Investasi Asing Australia
|PDF [187KB]||RTF [1.1MB]|
|PDF [610KB]||RTF [1.4MB]|
*The foreign language versions are yet to be updated for 2015, 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. Reforms to Strengthen Australia's Foreign Investment Framework
On 2 May 2015, the Government announced reforms to Strengthen Australia's Foreign Investment Framework. For further details, please see Reforms to Strengthen Australia's Foreign Investment Framework.
3. Recent Changes to Policy
See also Press Releases and Policy Statements at Publications.
A revised version of Australia's Foreign Investment Policy was released. It provides further clarification around the use of investment vehicles (such as trusts) to acquire interests in established properties and outlines the new $3 million limit on purchases of new dwellings bought by foreign persons (and their associates) from developers under an advanced off-the-plan certificate. Foreign persons will need to apply separately if they wish to buy interests in new dwellings in the same development above the $3 million limit.
As of 1 July 2015, the Government introduced the register of foreign ownership of agricultural land. If you meet the criteria you are asked to register your interest at: www.ato.gov.au/aglandregister.
1 March 2015
As of 1 March 2015, the Government will reduce the screening threshold for agricultural land from $252 million to $15 million. The new $15 million screening threshold will apply to the cumulative value of agricultural land owned by the foreign investor, including the purposed purchase.
The Government will also establish a foreign ownership register of agricultural land to strengthen reporting requirements and provide a clear picture of foreign investment in Australia’s agricultural sector. From 1 July 2015 the Australian Tax Office (ATO) will start collecting information on all new foreign investment in agricultural land regardless of value. The ATO will also commence a stocktake of existing agricultural land ownership by foreign interests.
Further details are available in the Hon Joe Hockey's Media release.
15 January 2015 – Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement enters into force
Non‑government Japanese investors now receive access to the same treatment as Chilean, Korean, New Zealand and United States investors.
1 January 2015
The indexed monetary thresholds for 2015 are $252 million and $1,094 million. The developed non-residential commercial real estate (not heritage listed) for 2015 is $55 million.
12 December 2014 – Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement enters into force
Non‑government Korean and Chilean investors now receive access to the same treatment as New Zealand and United States investors.
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 the Hon Wayne Swan'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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