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Foreign Investment

  1. 8 Mar 17 Who is a 'foreign person'? The Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (Cth) contains a detailed and somewhat complex method of determining who falls within the definition of a ‘foreign person’. Whether a person or entity falls into this definition is important for determining whether or not FIRB approval is required for a particular transaction.
  2. 27 Sep 16 Foreign Investor Surcharge - Additional tax payable by foreign purchasers of residential land On 1 July 2015, Victoria introduced a controversial new tax known as ‘foreign purchaser additional duty’. One year on, both New South Wales and Queensland have introduced similar provisions and Victoria has increased the surcharge from 3% to 7%.
  3. 8 Sep 16 New foreign investor surcharge in Queensland From 1 October, there will be a new tax on foreign investment in residential land in Queensland. Following on from the introduction of a similar tax in Victoria in 2015, Queensland and New South Wales have now introduced their own version of the foreign investor surcharge.
  4. 16 Aug 16 Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison blocks sale of 99 year lease of Ausgrid to Chinese and Hong Kong bidders Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison intends to reject the foreign investment proposals by Chinese and Hong Kong bidders to acquire a 99 year lease of 50.4 percent of Ausgrid, as he considered these proposals would be contrary to the national interest.
  5. 10 Jun 16 Queensland government introduces new property tax for foreign investors On 9 June 2016, Treasurer Curtis Pitt announced that the Queensland government will introduce a new 3% surcharge on stamp duty for foreign investors who purchase residential property in Queensland. The surcharge is likely to be introduced for all Queensland residential land acquisition contracts by foreign buyers signed on or after 1 July 2016.
  6. 5 Apr 16 Sale of State-owned critical infrastructure assets to private foreign investors now subject to FIRB approval On 31 March 2016, The Turnbull Government introduced further changes to the foreign investment rules by granting the Foreign Investment Review Board power to review sales of critical State-owned infrastructure assets to private foreign investors.
  7. 2 Jul 15 FIRB Policy changes - effective 1 July 2015 On Monday, 29 June 2015 Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) released an amended ‘Australian Foreign Investment Policy - June 2015’ (Policy). The Policy contains some additional obligations on foreign investors effective from 1 July 2015.
  8. 26 Jun 15 Proposal for Chinese workers to work on large infrastructure On the same day as entering the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, China and Australia reached agreement on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signalling the establishment of an infrastructure facilitation agreement (IFA) framework designed to allow Chinese workers to work in Australia on infrastructure projects worth over AUD$150 million.
  9. 17 Jun 15 China Australia Free Trade Agreement signed The China Australia Free Trade Agreement (CHAFTA) which was agreed to in November 2014 was signed on 17 June 2015 by Trade Minister Andrew Rob and the Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng.
  10. 4 May 15 FIRB changes announced On Saturday 2 May 2015 Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey made a joint announcement confirming that a raft of changes to the foreign investments rules will be introduced between now and 1 December 2015.
  11. 16 Apr 15 Further changes to foreign investment rules proposed The Foreign Investment Review Board is increasing its scrutiny of foreign investment and is introducing new rules which increase penalties, impose fees and broaden its power to review transactions.
  12. 27 Mar 15 New South Wales Asset Privatisation: Electricity Transmission and Distribution Networks In this instalment of our asset privatisation bulletin, we preview the opportunities from NSW’s plans to privatise its electricity and transmission and distribution assets: TransGrid, Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy.
  13. 13 Feb 15 Increased Government scrutiny of foreign investment in Australian farms The long awaited change to the screening threshold of foreign purchases of agricultural land was announced by the Government on 11 February 2015. Under the proposed new rules, foreign investors are far more likely to require prior approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board before being allowed to buy Australian farms.
  14. 15 Jan 15 FIRB thresholds increase for South Korean, Japanese and Chilean investors Changes to the foreign investment rules for South Korean, Japanese and Chilean investment into Australia are now all in effect. These three agreements seek to provide greater access for foreign investors to Australian investment opportunities while also allowing Australian exporters and investors increased market access.
  15. 17 Nov 14 Australian and Chinese trade agreement announced After nearly 10 years and 21 rounds of negotiations the Australian/Chinese trade agreement has finally been concluded. This milestone has been long anticipated by many sectors within the Australian economy, particularly in recent times by the resources, energy and agriculture sectors.
  16. 21 Oct 14 Do your shareholders make you a foreign government investor? Most Australian companies may not see themselves as a foreign government investor. However, the chance of an Australian company being treated as an FGI by the Foreign Investment Review Board is probably higher than most would expect.
  17. 9 Jul 14 Trade Agreements with Japan and South Korea - the benefits to the Australian resources sector The recent trade agreements reached between Australia, the Republic of Korea and Japan enhance the profitability and depth of two of Australia’s most important trade relationships. This strengthened relationship has specific benefits for the resources sector.
  18. 16 Apr 14 Foreign Investment, Competition Law and the Public Interest In this opinion piece, Partner John Kettle examines Australia’s clear desire for foreign direct investment juxtaposed against a public interest policy on foreign investment.
  19. 11 Apr 14 FIRB alert - Japanese free trade agreement Restrictions on foreign investment by Japanese investors in Australia will be relaxed following Australia and Japan concluding negotiations for a free trade agreement titled the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement on 7 April 2014.
  20. 14 Mar 14 Significant investor scheme and foreign investment in Australia The Coalition Government announced last Friday a review will be undertaken to ‘reboot’ the significant investor visa (SIV) program. It is expected that the proposed changes will result in an increase in the number of SIV applications due to the broader scope of complying investments and streamlined approvals.
  21. 26 Feb 14 New tax focus on foreign investment It is no secret that the Foreign Investment Review Board has increasingly focused its attention on the tax implications of potential foreign investment into Australia and the different ownership structures used by investors.
  22. 11 Feb 14 Foreign Investment Review Board Summary Inbound investment in Australia is regulated by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) which determines whether or not to allow certain foreign acquisitions of interests in Australian companies, assets or businesses.
  23. 27 Jun 13 Senate releases final report on ‘national interest’ test for foreign investment Since July 2011, Australia’s Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport has been examining the application of the ‘national interest test’ to purchases of Australian agricultural land by foreign entities. The Committee was due to report in late 2011 and after several extensions, the much anticipated final report was tabled in the Senate on 26 June 2013. In this must read article, Partner Janelle Moody examines the final report.
  24. 10 Dec 12 Senate releases interim report on FIRB national interest test Interim report making recommendations on taxation of agricultural investments and limitations of the legislative regime has been released - McCullough Robertson Partner, Janelle Moody takes a look at its implications.
  25. 9 Mar 12 Foreign investment in Australian agriculture - Senate enquiry due to report In response to growing public pressure and media attention, primarily focused on concerns over Australia’s food security, the Federal Government last year established a senate enquiry and commissioned a report on the level of foreign investment in Australia’s agribusiness sector. In particular the enquiry was to review the application of the ‘national interest test’ when screening foreign acquisitions of Australian farm land. The senate enquiry is due to report back this month. In the meantime, we take a look at the impacts of a recently issued policy statement from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).
  26. 10 Feb 12 Foreign Investment into Agribusiness: an opportunity for Australia Foreign investment into Australia’s farmland and agricultural businesses has gained a great deal of media attention in recent times.
  27. 2 Dec 11 FIRB - Senate inquiry report into foreign investment delayed As we reported on 1 September 2011, the Senate Standing Committee on Rural Affairs and Transport is examining the national interest test applied to purchases of Australian agricultural land by foreign entities. The Committee was due to report back to the...
  28. 26 Aug 11 Senate inquiry into foreign investment in agricultural land and businesses Agribusiness and foreign investment specialists, Diana Lohrisch, Janelle Moody and Duncan Bedford discuss the implications of the Senate Inquiry into foreign investment.
  29. 14 Jul 11 Foreign investment - should farming land be subject to stricter control? Recent land acquisitions by foreign-owned companies have shone the spotlight on an issue of growing concern to some in the food and agribusiness sector.

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