The Treasurer has announced changes to Australia’s foreign investment review framework, effective from 10.30pm AEDT on Sunday 29 March 2020, relating to monetary thresholds and timeframes for reviewing applications. Details are available in our Guidance Note, updated on 18 May 2020, which addresses the effects of the changes. All material on this website should be read in light of the Treasurer’s announcement.

Revised guidance — open and transparent sale process requirement

Revised guidance has been released on the application of the requirement for an open and transparent sale process for foreign purchases of agricultural land. The revision of the guidance notes has been informed by a range of stakeholder views.

The key changes include:

  • The requirement previously applied to all investments in agricultural land by foreign persons, with some exceptions. The requirement will now only apply to sales of agricultural land that are intended to be used for a primary production business or residential development;
  • The requirement will no longer apply to leasehold interests or licences, except where they have freehold characteristics;
  • The revised guidance notes that alternative forms of sale process (other than a 30 day public marketing campaign) that provide equal or greater participation by Australian bidders meet the requirement; and
  • Foreign investors that acquire agricultural land and that allow significant Australian participation in the primary production business will not be generally captured by the requirement.

Guidance Notes 17 and 21 provide further information on the application of the open and transparent sale process requirement.