Changes to foreign investment regulation welcomed

WAFarmers welcomes the announcement from the Federal Government in relation to amendments to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Regulation.

Effective from 31 March, the decision will ensure that the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) will assess the sale of critical state-owned infrastructure assets to private foreign investors.

WAFarmers Chief Executive Officer Stephen Brown said the changes would further strengthen the existing framework.

“By building on current rules which see the FIRB’s assessment of infrastructure required only when assets are sold to state-owned companies to now include assessments of sales to private foreign investors, any potential national security risks can be more easily identified and addressed,” Mr Brown said.

“While we acknowledge that foreign investments are an important source of capital for Australia, the changes to regulation will ensure that proper processes are undertaken when evaluating whether to sell critical infrastructure to privately owned investors.

“We are particularly pleased that these changes will be put in place to work in conjunction with the framework that the government has already enacted, including the introduction of an agricultural land foreign ownership register, reduction of the screening threshold for proposed foreign purchases of agricultural land by private investors to $15 million, and FIRB screening of direct interests in agribusinesses valued at $55 million or more.”

Mr Brown said the announcement would also ensure an additional level of scrutiny in the event of any proposed sale of the Fremantle Port to foreign investors, which he identified as being a key issue for WAFarmers members.

ENDS.

All media requests must be directed to WAFarmers Media and Communications Officer Melanie Dunn on (08) 9486 2100 or [email protected].

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