Legal Insights

Commencement of reforms to Australia’s foreign investment framework

By Chong Ming Goh, Ron Smooker

• 18 December 2020 • 1 min read

The Treasurer of Australia, The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, had previously announced major reforms to Australia’s foreign investment framework.

A link to our earlier article on the reforms can be found here.

The legislation to implement the reforms was passed by the Commonwealth Parliament on 10 December 2020, with the commencement date of 1 January 2021.

The amendments are largely in line with those described in our earlier article. One concession is that moneylenders do not need Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval when taking security over ‘national security business’ – approval will only be needed if the moneylender acquired such assets by enforcement of the security.

FIRB monetary thresholds reinstated

The temporary changes to the foreign investment rules announced on 29 March 2020 reduced all FIRB monetary thresholds to $0.

With effect from 1 January 2021, the previous monetary thresholds will be reinstated, subject to indexation. Acquisitions below the relevant thresholds will no longer require FIRB approval after 1 January 2021.

FIRB application fees

The FIRB application fees will be increased with effect from 1 January 2021, with some fee increases being quite significant.

FIRB Guidance Notes

FIRB will be updating their Guidance Notes shortly to reflect the amendments to the legislation.

If you have any queries, please contact us.

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