The Liberal National Government is today announcing temporary changes to the foreign investment review framework that are designed to protect Australia’s national interest as we deal with the economic implications arising from the spread of the coronavirus.
Effective from today, 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.
Federal Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry said this is not an investment freeze, but a measure put in place to ensure investments made are in the national interest.
“Australia is open for business and recognises investment at this time can be beneficial but it must be in the national interest,” Ms Landry said.
The temporary change will be achieved by reducing to $0 the monetary screening thresholds for all foreign investments under the Act.
To ensure sufficient time for screening applications, the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) will be working with existing and new applicants to extend timeframes for reviewing applications from 30 days to up to six months.
In doing so, the Government will prioritise urgent applications for investments that protect and support Australian business and Australian jobs.
The Government recognises that foreign investment will play an important part in helping many businesses get to the other side – securing jobs and supporting our economic recovery. However, these measures are necessary to safeguard the national interest as the coronavirus outbreak puts intense pressure on the Australian economy and Australian businesses.
Ms Landry said these are temporary measures that will remain in place for the duration of the current crisis.
“Treasurer Josh Frydenberg 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.
“In our current economic climate, it is so important to ensure any foreign investment into Australia at the moment is unashamedly in the benefit of Australia’s national interest.”
Further administrative details to give effect to this announcement will be published on the FIRB website in due course.
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