Foreign investment in agribusiness in Australia is becoming more
During 2011, the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board
(FIRB) has stepped up its scrutiny of foreign
acquisitions of agricultural assets. FIRB increasingly requires
more information on the impact of an acquisition on Australian
employment, benefits to local companies, market concentration and
the benefits to local communities and consumers. The increased
restrictions are not the result of any change in Australia's
foreign investment laws, but reflect community and political
concerns about the level of foreign ownership, food prices, and
In the most recent development, on 6 July 2011 a Committee of
the Australian Senate announced an inquiry into the growing
interest of foreign companies and government agencies in
agricultural land, and the way in which FIRB deals with proposed
acquisitions of agricultural land. This is not the first time the
Senate has examined the practices of FIRB, but this further enquiry
suggests the issue of agricultural land is gaining increasing
political traction at a time of heightened international interest
in Australia's food production assets, and a number of
political figures have called for tightening of Australia's
laws. The Senate inquiry was in part triggered by the acquisition
of a number of farms in Australia by Chinese state-owned company,
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An actuarial review of the Invensys Australia Superannuation Fund showed it to be in surplus to the tune of $189.2 million. In mid 2003, the Invensys Group proposed to the trustee that the surplus be repatriated to the principal employer in the group.
CIVs will have flow-through status for tax purposes and similar criteria as the MITs, to encourage foreign investment.
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