Treasury’s Foreign Investment Division office will be closed from noon (AEDT), Thursday 24 December 2020 until opening of business on Monday 4 January 2021. During this shutdown period, Treasury will not be processing applications, answering calls on the FIRB phone line or monitoring publicly available inboxes (including email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org).
New guidance notes to support the foreign investment reforms will be available on the FIRB website in the week of 21 December 2020.
The fifth report of the Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land is now available.
The Register, which is maintained by the Australian Taxation Office, has been established to provide greater transparency about levels of foreign ownership of agricultural land in Australia.
On 9 December, the Treasurer announced that major reforms to Australia’s foreign investment framework had been passed by the Parliament. Further detail can be found on the Treasurer’s website.
Further to the update on Foreign Investment Review arrangements posted on 16 November 2020, Treasury is able to share the following information with foreign investors (subject to the passage of the Foreign Investment Reform (Protecting Australia’s National Security) Bill 2020).
The Foreign Investment Reform (Protecting Australia’s National Security) Bill 2020 and Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Fees Imposition Amendment Bill 2020 was introduced into the Parliament on 28 October 2020.
Guidance material is being prepared to assist foreign investors to meet their obligations under the proposed reforms, including transitional arrangements from the existing framework.
The first two Insights reports based on the Register of Foreign Ownership of Residential Land are now available on the FIRB website.
Please be advised that Treasury has updated the FIRB Application Checklist to provide greater clarity to applicants on information requirements when submitting a (non-residential) application. It is recommended that all applicants review the Application Checklist. This will ensure applications are consistent with the updated information requirements prior to submission to avoid significant delays in processing.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has announced the appointment of Mr Steven Skala AO as a part-time member to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) for a five-year period.
On 18 September 2020 Treasury released the exposure drafts of the Foreign Investment Reform (Protecting Australia’s National Security) Regulations 2020 and the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Fees Imposition Regulations 2020 for public consultation. The Exposure Draft Regulations and an Explanatory Statement can be found on the Treasury consultation website.
The Government has introduced amendments to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Regulation 2015. The amendments, which take effect from 4 September 2020, have the effect of reinstating normal monetary thresholds in relation to the renewal or material variation of existing non-sensitive leasehold interests in developed commercial land, where the same acquirer held a substantially similar interest under a lease on 29 March 2020. Further information is provided in Guidance Note 53.
The FIRB Application Portal will now be unavailable from 7pm Tuesday 1 September 2020 until 8am Wednesday 2 September 2020 AEST. Updates will be made to the Applicant Details page of the Portal.
The FIRBCompliance@treasury.gov.au inbox has recently undergone maintenance. Due to this you may get a bounce back email. To ensure your emails are being received by us, please re-enter the full email address (FIRBCompliance@treasury.gov.au) as a new entry and this will ensure your autofill is reset and correctly linked to send to this email address.
On Friday 31 July the Treasurer announced the release of the exposure draft of the Foreign Investment Reform (Protecting Australia’s National Security) Bill 2020 for public consultation. The exposure draft Bill amends the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 to implement the reforms to Australia’s foreign investment framework announced on 5 June 2020.