Changes to foreign investment framework

On 29 March 2020, the Treasurer announced temporary changes to the foreign investment framework to protect Australia's national interest whilst dealing with the economic implications arising from the COVID-19.

The temporary changes will reduce the monetary screening threshold to $0 for all foreign investment. This means all proposed foreign investments into Australia subject to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (the Act) will require approval, regardless of value or the nature of the foreign investor.

This is not an investment freeze. Australia is open for business and recognizes investment at this time can be beneficial if in the national interest.  

To ensure sufficient time for screening applications, the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) will be working with existing and new applicants to extend time-frames for reviewing applications from 30 days to up to six months. 

In doing so, the Government will prioritize urgent applications for investments that protect and support Australian business and Australian jobs.

Australia continues to welcome foreign investment, which remains vital to the long-term economic success and stability. However, these temporary measures are necessary to safeguard the national interest during this challenging time for the Australian economy, businesses and the broader community.

The Treasurer will continue to review foreign investment proposals against the national interest on a case-by-case basis. Where appropriate, conditions will be applied proportionately to address identified risks on a non-discriminatory basis.

The changes the Government is announcing today have the full support of the FIRB and its chairman, Mr David Irvine AO.

Further administrative details to give effect to this announcement will be published on the FIRB website in due course.


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