Amidst the coronavirus panic, the escalating pressure on Australian businesses and the entire national economy has led the policy-makers to search for a solution that would prevent other countries from exploiting Australia’s vulnerable financial position.
According to the latest statistics by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the two biggest investors in Australia are the US and the UK.
However, Chinese investment in Australia has grown significantly over the past decade and the 5-year trend growth of Hong Kong (SAR of China) is a staggering 13.6%. Greater China is also buying up millions of acres of Australian land, especially agricultural terrain.
Now the Australian government has intervened; seeking to safeguard the national interest it has announced temporary changes to the regulation of Australia’s foreign investment.
From 29 March 2020 all proposed foreign investments, regardless of the value, will require approval by the Treasurer.
“This is not an investment freeze,” the Treasurer also stressed. “ Australia is open for business and recognises investment at this time can be beneficial if in the national interest.”
The Australian Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), is aiming for the current legal 30-day period of reviewing and approving investment applications to be expanded by up to 6 months.
Applications for investments supporting Australian business and jobs will be prioritised in order to relieve the national economic burden.