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2 Dec 11
FIRB - Senate inquiry report into foreign investment delayed

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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 Senate on 30 November 2011, however this date has been extended.

On 23 November, the Senate moved and agreed to delay the Committee’s report to 14 March 2012.

The Committee’s inquiry is considering the implications of foreign investment in agricultural land, particularly on food security.  Findings may impact on the ability of foreign companies to buy farmland. It will also affect mining companies wishing to purchase the farmland underlying the areas on which they conduct their mining and exploration activities.

We will continue to monitor and report on developments arising out of the report and how they may impact on agricultural land acquisitions.

Despite the extended timeframe, there remains a strong likelihood of changes in this area and foreign companies should continue to watch these developments and seek advice relating to planned activities over the next twelve months.

We have extensive experience in assisting clients to obtain annual approvals from FIRB and this may be an appropriate strategy to assist with management of FIRB applications over the next 12 months.

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