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Major Reforms to Australia’s Foreign Investment Framework

On 5 June 2020, the Government announced the most comprehensive reforms to Australia’s foreign investment review framework since the introduction of the Foreign Acquisitions Takeovers Act 1975.  

These reforms will ensure that our foreign investment framework keeps pace with emerging risks and global developments, including similar changes to foreign investment regimes in comparable countries.

The reforms will update the foreign investment review framework in three broad ways:

  • address national security risks
  • strengthen the existing system, and
  • streamline investment in non-sensitive businesses.

The Government will release exposure draft legislation to amend the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act in July 2020 for a six week consultation period. Following the consultation, the legislation will be introduced to Parliament with a scheduled commencement of 1 January 2021.

The announcement of the reform package does not immediately affect the temporary changes that the Government announced in March 2020 to safeguard the national interest during the coronavirus crisis. Those changes temporarily reduced to $0 the monetary screening thresholds for all foreign investments subject to the FATA. The Government said at the time the temporary $0 threshold would remain in place for the duration of the current crisis.

Treasury welcomes your feedback on the reform measures and the exposure draft legislation, and will keep you updated on how you can participate in the process. You can also contact Treasury on +61 2 6263 3795, or by email: FIRBEnquiries@treasury.gov.au. Additional details about the reforms will be available on the Treasury website