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 recent News article, including Q&A. Material on the FIRB website is being updated to capture these changes. In the meantime, all material on this website, including guidance notes, should be read in light of the Treasurer’s announcement.
The Treasurer has today announced temporary changes to the foreign investment review framework. The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) was consulted upon and fully supports the changes.
These temporary measures have been necessitated by extraordinary economic circumstances. Foreign investment is and will continue to be critical to Australia’s prosperity. These temporary measures are necessary to protect the national interest during an historically challenging time for the economy, businesses and the broader community.
Following the Treasurer’s announcement of Sunday, 29 March 2020, the threshold amounts which apply in determining whether particular foreign investments made on or after 10:30 pm (AEDT) Sunday, 29 March 2020 are subject to Australia’s foreign investment framework are now $0.
The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) recognises that measures being implemented globally, and in Australia by governments, businesses and individuals, in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic are affecting the ability of some investors to progress investment decisions.
We are currently experiencing an increase in processing times for foreign investment applications reflecting the high volume of applications recently submitted through the FIRB portal. Applicants should expect that case processing times will often be extended beyond the 30 days outlined in the FATA. Our case officers will contact applicants to discuss the expected time frame for processing their applications, taking account of any commercial deadlines related to those proposed investments. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Treasury's Foreign Investment Division is currently advertising for case officers to perform foreign investment case processing roles across our offices in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.
Please visit the Treasury website to see all the details about the advertised positions. Applications close: 29 Mar 2020 11:30 PM AUS Eastern Daylight Time.
Under the Australian Government’s Regulator Performance Framework, regulators must undertake an annual self-assessment of their performance against six key outcome-based performance indicators (KPIs).
The overall 2018-19 assessment for FIRB agencies (Treasury and ATO) was that the KPIs were met.
Due to system maintenance, users who submit an application through the FIRB portal between 12 noon (AEDT) Thursday 24 December 2019 and 12 noon (AEDT) Thursday 2 January 2020 will not be able to pay application fees until 12 noon (AEDT) Thursday 2 January.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Please note that applications received after 12 noon AEDT Wednesday 20 November 2019 are likely to face significant delays in processing. A case officer will contact you to discuss the time frame for your application.
Foreign investment application fees have been indexed for the 2019-20 year. Revised fees will apply to applications made and notices given as of 1 July 2019. The fee schedule and further information on the application of fees is provided in Guidance Note 29 (residential land) and Guidance Note 30 (business).
A fee estimator is available to provide estimates of fees for different types of foreign investment applications.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) maintains a publicly available Register of Foreign Owners of Media Assets under section 74D of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BSA), which is a register of foreign persons who hold company interests of 2.5 per cent or more in an Australian media company.
In 2017-18, the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) reviewed a significant number of high profile foreign investment applications, including the acquisition of the Whyalla steelworks and the acquisition of Australia’s largest diagnostic imaging provider, I-MED Radiology Network. Over 11,000 proposed transactions were approved representing potential investment of $163.1 billion.
From 1 September 2018, a foreign person with company interests of 2.5% or more in an Australian media company must notify the Australian Communications and Media Authority. Australian media companies include companies that hold commercial television or radio broadcasting licences, or that publish a newspaper that is associated with a broadcasting licence area.