Strengthening the foreign investment framework
The Government is committed to strengthening Australia’s economy, creating new jobs and unlocking innovation. To achieve this, foreign investment is essential and that is why the Government welcomes all foreign investment that is not contrary to our national interest.
Open for business
Australia is open for business, with foreign investment approval granted for $167 billion of proposed investment in 2013–14, a 23.4 per cent increase on 2012–13.
Enforcing the rules
A robust regulatory framework is essential to maintain community support and a predictable and welcoming environment for investors. Australia’s foreign investment system continues to play an important role in facilitating investment. A lack of substantive reform to the system in the past 40 years has seen it fail to keep pace with changing demands and community expectations.
On 2 May 2015, the Government announced a package of measures to strengthen the foreign investment framework to make sure the rules are enforced. The ATO will be given responsibility for regulating foreign investment in residential real estate, including stronger enforcement, audit and compliance of the existing rules. Greater enforcement will be supported by enhanced data matching systems to pinpoint possible breaches.
Stricter penalties and fees
There will be additional and stricter civil and criminal penalties to ensure foreign investors and intermediaries do not profit from breaking the rules. There has been growing community concern around transparency and enforcement of the rules over recent years.
The introduction of application fees on all foreign investment applications from 1 December 2015 will provide improved service delivery for investors and ensure Australian taxpayers are no longer funding the administration of the system.