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 number 53, which addresses the effects of the changes. All material on this website should be read in light of the Treasurer’s announcement.

2017-18 Annual Report

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.

The services sector attracted the highest value of approved investment, with the value of approvals in health care doubling. The value of residential real estate approvals declined from $30.0 billion in 2016-17 to $12.5 billion in 2017-18, reflecting a slowing in foreign demand for residential real estate.

For the first time since 2012–13, the United States surpassed China as the largest source country for approved proposed investment due to an increase in United States approvals and a decline in Chinese approvals. The United States recorded an increase in approved investment from $26.5 billion in 2016-17 to $36.5 billion in 2017-18, with significant increases in real estate and the manufacturing, electricity and gas sector.