Queensland Law Society

Foreign Investment Reforms—Treasury Update

On 5 June 2020, the Government announced the most comprehensive reforms to Australia’s foreign investment review framework since the introduction of the Foreign Acquisitions Takeovers Act 1975.  Exposure draft legislation will be released in July 2020 for a six week consultation period. The legislation will then be introduced to Parliament with a scheduled commencement of 1 January 2021. Details of the reform measures can be found in the Summary Booklet on the Treasury website. Treasury welcomes feedback on the reform measures and the exposure draft legislation, and we will keep you updated on the consultation process.

The reforms will update the foreign investment review framework in three broad ways:

  • address national security risks
  • strengthen the existing system, and
  • streamline investment in non-sensitive businesses.

These reforms are intended to ensure that Australia’s foreign investment framework keeps pace with emerging risks and global developments, including similar changes to foreign investment regimes in comparable countries.

The announcement of the reform package does not immediately affect the temporary changes that the Government announced in March 2020 to safeguard the national interest during the coronavirus crisis. Those changes temporarily reduced to $0 the monetary screening thresholds for all foreign investments subject to the FATA. The Government said at the time the temporary $0 threshold would remain in place for the duration of the current crisis.

Additional details about the reforms will be available on the Treasury website.