Foreign investments of more than $15 million will be automatically screened by the Foreign Investment Review Board, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey announced today.
Describing the new policy as an ‘election commitment’, Mr Abbott also said the Australian Taxation Office would conduct a stocktake with the states and territories to compile a national register of foreign agricultural landholdings.
“We do want foreign investment but it’s got to be the right investment that serves our purposes,” the PM told reporters at a farm in Murrumbateman, NSW, on Wednesday.
The $15 million threshold will be cumulative, so that anyone who holds $10 million of agricultural land but wants to buy another $5 million would be brought into the net for further approval.
Standing next to Mr Abbott, Mr Hockey said the policies would be the “first step” in a series of changes to improve the “integrity” of the foreign investment regime. “Disallow an investment that is contrary to the national interest.”
Mr Hockey said the government would have more to say about foreign investment in residential real estate and agribusiness over the coming
“It is clearly an issue in our metropolitan areas that there is seemingly an increase in unlawful acquisition of existing real estate by foreign investors,” he said.