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Client Update: Australia's foreign investment approval (FIRB) regime: what you need to know

15 March 2017

In brief: Australia's foreign investment approval regime is increasingly a major political issue that is often highlighted and discussed in the media. Our foreign investment law experts have summarised the key information you need to know about Australia's FIRB regime.

Our Overview of Australia's foreign investment approval (FIRB) regime includes the following key FIRB regulatory developments that have been implemented since 1 December 2015:

  • privately owned investors from China now have the benefit of a higher monetary threshold under the FIRB rules, following the coming into force of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement;
  • the application of the FIRB rules to acquisitions by privately owned investors of critical infrastructure from Australian federal, state, territory or local governments, following changes to the law that narrowed the general exemption for acquisitions from Australian governments;
  • slight increases to FIRB application fees following indexation;
  • new Australian Government policy regarding the potential application of tax-related conditions on approvals; and
  • the establishment of the previously proposed Register of Foreign Ownership Water Entitlements, following changes to the law.

In addition, the Australian Government has established a Critical Infrastructure Centre to proactively identify and manage national security risks relating to critical infrastructure (see our Client Update: Implications of the Critical Infrastructure Centre for foreign investment in Australia).

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