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Australian Government Coat of Arms

Budget | 2015-16

Budget 2015-16
Australian Government Coat of Arms, Budget 2015-16

Foreign investment

Additional agriculture investment scrutiny

The Government is also delivering on its commitment to increase scrutiny and transparency around foreign investment in agriculture.

From 1 March 2015, the screening threshold for agricultural land was lowered to $15 million (applying to total agricultural land investment by an investor) — down from $252 million — while the definition of agricultural land will be changed to better reflect common understanding.

A new $55 million screening threshold (based on the value of investment) will apply from 1 December 2015 to investments in agribusiness.

Additional scrutiny of agricultural investments will provide confidence to the community that investments are not contrary to our national interest.

It will also provide investors with greater certainty that foreign investment is welcomed.

Strengthening Australia’s foreign investment framework

Foreign ownership of land register

A comprehensive land register will provide for greater scrutiny and transparency around the level of foreign ownership in Australian agricultural land and real estate.

The ATO will commence collecting data for the agricultural land register on 1 July 2015, with negotiation underway for the inclusion of state and territory land titles data to expand the register to all land by 1 July 2016.

Streamlining the system

The Government is also consulting on options to ensure Australia has a modern, streamlined foreign investment system.

Application fees and penalties from 1 December 2015
Investment Type Fees Penalties*
Residential real estate

Property valued under $1 million – $5,000

Property valued over $1 million – $10,000 then $10,000 incremental fee increase per additional $1 million in property value

Maximum criminal penalty increased to $135,000 or 3 years imprisonment

New maximum civil penalty of the greater of capital gain or 25 per cent of the value of the property

Business $10,000 – $100,000

Maximum criminal penalty increased to $135,000 or 3 years imprisonment

New maximum civil penalty of $45,000

Agriculture $5,000 – $100,000

Maximum criminal penalty increased to $135,000 or 3 years imprisonment

New maximum civil penalty of $45,000

*Penalty rates for individuals, a multiple of 5 applies for company penalties