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.

Business

On 29 March 2020, the Treasurer announced that due to the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak, all monetary thresholds will be temporarily reduced to $0, and that the FIRB will work with applicants to extend the timeframes for decision making to up to six months. Further information on these temporary changes can be found in ‘Guidance Note 53: Temporary measures in response to the coronavirus’, available on the FIRB website at www.firb.gov.au.

All other guidance material, including this webpage on business investments, should be read in light of those temporary changes. On this page, the temporary changes may have particular impact on matters related to, but not exclusively including:

  • the monetary thresholds for determining if the threshold test is met; and
  • the actions covered by an existing exemption certificate.

Where there is any inconsistency between this webpage and Guidance Note 53, the information in Guidance Note 53 takes precedence.

The Government screens foreign investment proposals to ensure they are not contrary to Australia’s national interest.

In general, proposals to acquire an interest of 20 per cent or more in any business valued at over $275 million (or the higher threshold of $1,192 million for agreement country or region investors from the United States of America, New Zealand, Chile, Japan, the republic of Korea, China, Singapore, Peru, 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 require prior approval.

All foreign government investors also require approval to acquire a direct interest in an Australian entity or an Australian business or to start a new Australian business, regardless of the value of the investment ($0 threshold).The Treasurer can prohibit foreign investment proposals found to be contrary to the national interest, or can impose conditions on an investment to address national interest concerns.

Please refer to the Guidance Notes for more information.

Business exemption certificate

On 1 July 2017, the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Regulation introduced the business exemption certificate for programs of acquisitions of interests in the assets of an Australian business and/or securities in an entity, including interests acquired through the business of underwriting.

Guidance