Foreign Investment in Australia

In this section

Establishing a business presence in Australia

A destination of choice for international investors, Australia's favourable political and business environment and its good governance and transparent regulatory framework, make it an attractive and dynamic investment for foreign investors.

Australia is a unique country with a historical emphasis on a stable and resilient economy. With stability comes an increase in competition for assets, a tightening of regulatory scrutiny and a number of investment challenges.

Foreign investment and your business

Helping navigate Australia's complex regulatory issues (FIRB)

From 1, January 2021, Australia's foreign investment regulatory framework has changed substantially. Our team is at the forefront of these changes, leading the Law Council of Australia's response and is well placed to help you plan ahead as you execute your Australian investment strategy. Learn more. 

Seeking ACCC clearance and ongoing competition and consumer regulation

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has the power to scrutinise mergers and doing business in Australia means complying with Australia's consumer and competition laws, with the ACCC increasingly active in the enforcement of those laws. We are well known for obtaining clearance of complex global mergers and our strong relationship with the ACCC underscores our reputation for resolving complex competition issues and advising on ongoing compliance. Learn more. 

Regulatory and operational considerations

Identifying the optimum tax structure 

A number of different business structures can be used to conduct business in Australia. These include a company, sole trader, joint venture, partnership or trading trust. Each business structure has its own legal characteristics, obligations and tax implications. Therefore, a foreign investor wanting to set up a business structure in Australia to conduct business will need to consider carefully which structure is appropriate for their objectives and needs. Learn more

Staying on top of Australian privacy laws

Foreign investors should be aware of obligations to protect the information of individuals under Australia's privacy legislation, which can range from corporate activities from due diligence to new marketing initiatives. Organisations have a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to protect personal information they hold from misuse, interference and loss, as well as unauthorised access. The Privacy Commissioner considers that this obligation includes the development of a data breach response plan. Learn more

Ensuring compliance with the financial services regulatory regime

Foreign investors conducting a financial service business in Australia must be covered by an Australian financial services license (AFSL) unless awarded an exemption by Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA). Although there are no restrictions on the amount of currency brought into or taken out of Australia, there are certain reporting obligation for certain transactions. The Anti-Money laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth) AAML/CTF Act) imposes obligations on business operating in the financial sector. Learn more.

Meeting the Australian standard of corporate governance

Allens' Head Office and Governance team regularly advises international public and private companies across numerous industries, working closely with client boards, in-house lawyers, the HR and company secretariat functions and individual directs (in particular, board and committee Chairs). The multidisciplinary and multijurisdictional team works together closely, pooling knowledge and experience to ensure clients are provided with comprehensive and pragmatic solutions to a wide range of corporate governance matters. Learn more.

Protecting IP across borders

Our focus is on understanding your business so we can help you manage your IP strategy effectively, to maximise value and minimise risk. Working with many of Australia's and the world's most famous brands and innovative companies, our team covers the whole IP lifecycle, including: searching, advisory, registration, opposition, portfolio management, litigation and enforcement. Providing dependable, transparent and high quality service, helping you focus on developing your business across new borders. Learn more.

Experience

British Columbia Investment Management Corporation

Advised Canada's British Columbia Investment Management Corp (BcIMC) on ACCC clearance of its US$625 million acquisition of 9.9% of Glencore Agri.

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board

Advised on all aspects, including FIRB and ACCC merger clearance, of the acquisition of a US$2.5 billion stake in Glencore's agricultural business.

Public Sector Pension Investment Board

Advised PSPIB on all aspects of its $600 million Queensland and Northern Territory-based cattle farming joint venture with the Hewitt Family, including handling FIRB applications for the JV’s ongoing acquisitions of agricultural properties and cattle processing businesses.

NSW Land Registry Services

Advised on all aspects, including FIRB, of Hastings Funds Management and Aware Super's successful bid to acquire NSW LPI.

NSW Poles and Wires

Advised on the privatisation of the NSW electricity networks and distribution businesses included giving sell-side advice to the State of New South Wales, and regular engagement with FIRB, in relation to bidders’ foreign investment applications, including in relation to FIRB’s rejection of certain bids for Ausgrid.

JBS Australia

Advised on all aspects, including FIRB, of the $1.45 billion acquisition of Primo, acquisition of the Tasman Group, and subsequent acquisitions of Rockdale Beef and Tatiara Meat, and an interest in Andrews Meat.