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.

Monetary thresholds

One of the tests in determining whether an action is a significant action under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 is whether the monetary screening threshold test is met.

Monetary screening thresholds are met when either the amount paid for an interest or the value of an entity or asset exceeds the threshold amount, depending on the type of action. The exception is for agricultural land, where the test is cumulative (except in relation to certain free trade agreement (FTA) partners' investors, as set out below).

Monetary screening thresholds are indexed annually on 1 January using the GDP implicit price deflator (except for the $15 million agricultural land threshold and the $50 million land threshold for investors from Thailand, which are not indexed).

Non-land proposals

Investor Action Threshold – more than:
From FTA partner countries that have the higher threshold1 Acquisitions in non-sensitive businesses $1,192 million
Acquisitions in sensitive businesses2 $275 million
Media sector3 $0
Agribusinesses For Chile, New Zealand and United States of America, $1,192 million.
Other investors Business acquisitions (all sectors) $275 million
Media sector $0
Agribusinesses $60 million (based on the value of the consideration for the acquisition and the total value of other interests held by the foreign person [with associates] in the entity)
Foreign government investors All direct interests in an Australian entity or Australian business $0
Starting a new Australian business $0

Land proposals

Investor Action Threshold – more than:
All investors Residential land $0
Privately owned investors from FTA partner countries or regions that have a higher threshold Agricultural land For Chile, New Zealand and United States of America, $1,192 million
Vacant commercial land $0
Developed commercial land $1,192 million
Mining and production tenements For Chile, New Zealand and United States of America, $1,192 million
Others, $0
Privately owned investors from non-FTA countries or regions, and FTA countries or regions that do not have the higher threshold Agricultural land For Thailand, where land is used wholly and exclusively for a primary production business $50 million (otherwise the land is not agricultural land)
Others $15 million (cumulative)
Vacant commercial land $0
Developed commercial land $275 million
Low threshold land (sensitive land)4, $60 million
Mining and production tenements $0
Foreign government investors Any interest in land $0

1 Agreement country or region investors are those from: the United States of America, New Zealand, Chile, Japan, the Republic of Korea, China, Singapore, a country (other than Australia) for which the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans‑Pacific Partnership, done at Santiago on 8 March 2018, is in force (CPTPP) (as at 1 January 2020, the CPTPP is in force for: Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam), and the region of Hong Kong, China.

2 Sensitive businesses include media; telecommunications; transport; defence and military related industries and activities; encryption and securities technologies and communications systems; and the extraction of uranium or plutonium; or the operation of nuclear facilities.

3 For investment in the media sector, a holding of at least five per cent requires notification and prior approval regardless of the value of investment.

4 For Hong Kong investors, where developed commercial land is also sensitive land (see section 52(6) of the FATR), the threshold of $60 million will apply.  Low threshold land includes mines and public infrastructure (for example, an airport or port).