In our Alert dated
18 November 2014, we noted that the Federal Government had
entered into the Australia/China Free Trade Agreement and that some
key changes were proposed to the way the Foreign Investment Review
Board (FIRB) would deal with inbound investment. In Canberra
earlier today, Prime Minister Tony Abbott reaffirmed that the
Federal Government is set to announce key changes to foreign
investment in the agriculture sector.
In this Alert, Senior Associates Alex Davies and Lea Fua
highlight these new changes and how they will effect inbound
Foreign investors in agricultural land are set to come under
greater scrutiny on disclosure.
Effective from 1 March 2015, the FIRB screening threshold for
acquisitions of farmland will be dropped from $252 million to $15
A bill to give effect to this change is currently before the
The new threshold will apply to the cumulative value of
agricultural land owned by the foreign investor, including the
The Federal Government will set up a foreign ownership register
of agricultural land.
From 1 July 2015, the ATO will start collecting information on
all new foreign investment in agricultural land, regardless of
Prime Minister Abbott said the new free trade deals with Korea,
Japan and most recently, China made Australia a vastly more
attractive investment destination now than it was 18 months ago,
and that greater scrutiny was required in order to protect national
In addition to these changes to agricultural investment,
further changes are also expected in the coming weeks which are
aimed at foreign investment in residential real estate.
Whilst these new measures will see greater transparency for
inbound investment in the agricultural sector, the lowering of the
investment thresholds will ensure that Australia remains an
attractive jurisdiction for foreign investment.
There has been a range of recent legal developments that affect privacy, child abuse claims and workers compensation.
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