Foreign investment law changes for 2021

The across-the-board $0 monetary screening threshold for all foreign investments was lifted on 1 January 2021, as part of the reforms of the Foreign Acquisition and Takeovers Act 1975 (Cth) (FATA) and Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Regulation 2015 (Cth).

A summary of key changes foreign investors should be aware of is set out below:

  • As of 1 January 2021 the pre-COVID monetary thresholds for ‘notifiable actions’ and ‘significant actions’ are reinstated and indexed for 2021.
  • ‘Notifiable national security actions’ will need to be notified to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) regardless of value.
  • The Treasurer will, subject to a number of requirements having been met, have the power to make divestment orders and unilaterally impose conditions or vary existing conditions after a FIRB approval has been given in respect of a significant action taken after 1 January 2021.
  • The Treasurer will also have the ability to review, or ‘call-in’, an action that is a ‘reviewable national security action’ or a significant action that has not been notified to FIRB. The Treasurer will have 10 years following the action in which to exercise their ‘call-in’ power.
  • The definition of a ‘foreign government investor’ has been narrowed to exclude some passive investments in funds where the investors have no influence or control over the investment or operational decisions of the entity or any of its underlying assets.

If you have any questions in relation to FIRB matters, please contact:

David Shelley
Managing Principal
M: 0427 183 217
E: dshelley@pageseager.com.au

Daniel Morgan
Principal
M: 0438 436 968
E: dmorgan@pageseager.com.au

Published: 20 January 2021

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