FIRB application portal – upgrades for 1 January 2021 reforms


The FIRB Application Portal (Portal) has been upgraded to reflect the foreign investment reforms that commenced on 1 January 2021, primarily the addition of notifiable national security actions and reviewable national security actions.
This page provides a short explanation of key changes made to the Portal effective from 1 January 2021. Please note that the Action Wizard Guide has not been updated to reflect the reforms. It is however still largely relevant for national interest actions.1

Portal upgrades - Actions

In submitting an application through the Portal investors should note the following changes to ensure that actions are entered correctly. Errors or omissions in entering actions may result in the wrong fee estimate being calculated and cause delays in the processing of your application.

  • Answers to the ‘Initial questions’ page of the Portal will determine what actions can be submitted later in the application. This includes whether significant and notifiable actions, notifiable national security actions and/or reviewable national security actions are available as you move through the Portal application process.
  • Changes have been made to the allowable actions and application types that can be combined and selected as a single action under ‘Enter Action(s) in the action wizard. Most notably, this means that ‘securities in an entity’ and ‘assets’ application types can no longer be combined. In addition, ‘securities in a land entity’ application types cannot be combined with other land application types.
  • As some actions can be characterised in more than one way, significant and notifiable actions can be combined with notifiable national security actions and submitted as a single action under ‘Enter Actions(s)’ in the action wizard. For example, a ‘securities in an entity’ application type can be combined with a ‘direct interest in an entity that carries on a national security business’ application type if they both relate to the same target.
  • Reviewable national security actions cannot be combined with significant and notifiable actions or notifiable national security actions.

Exemption certificates

  • An application can now include multiple exemption certificate types. This will allow an exemption certificate to combine:
    • Interests in land
    • Interests in businesses and entities
    • Interests in tenements, mining, production or exploration entities
    • Notifiable national security actions
    • Reviewable national security actions.
  • A single exemption certificate application, however, cannot be made if investors are applying for different durations for any of the exemption certificate types. In these circumstances separate applications will be required for each exemption certificate type that reflect the different durations.
    • The duration for exemption certificates has been moved from the details section of ‘Actions’ to the ‘Initial questions’ page.
  • While multiple exemption certificate types can be applied for through the one application, each type must be entered as its own ‘Enter Action(s)’ in the action wizard.
  • The notifiable national security exemption certificate and the reviewable national security exemption certificate have been split into the same exemption certificate types as the existing exemption certificates. This means that when applying for one of these exemption certificates, investors will need to specify if it relates to:
    • Interests in land
    • Interests in businesses and entities
    • Interests in tenements, mining, production or exploration entities.

Expected investment value for exemption certificates

  • Investors should refer to the Fees Guidance Note in considering how to apply for the different exemption certificate types, noting that ‘total requested value for exemption certificates’ is equivalent to ‘expected investment value’ in the Portal.
    • Where multiple exemption certificate types are being applied for and some of the expected investment value may cross more than one exemption certificate type, any duplicate expected investment values should be entered as a notional $1 value ($0.000001 million).

Other portal changes

  • A ‘Fee details’ page has been added for applications for both proposals and variations. This page requires investors to provide details of the fee they expect for their application, as well as details on how that fee amount has been calculated.
    • Fee estimates and a fee estimator are not currently available in the FIRB Portal.
  • The wording of some of the authorisations and declarations has had minor revisions, while some declarations have been removed.
  • The variation application form now asks several additional questions, most notably whether the transaction is immaterial/minor.

1 For the purposes of the Portal, national interest actions means significant and/or notifiable actions.