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Foreign investment proposals undergo a screening process, and while the general presumption is that foreign investment is beneficial, proposals contrary to national interest can be blocked. The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) thoroughly examines foreign investment proposals and makes recommendations to the Treasurer based on Australia’s Foreign Investment Policy and the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (Cth) (FATA).
The FIRB process is substantive and not just a formality, with the Treasurer being the ultimate decision-maker. Sector-specific legislation also governs foreign ownership in certain areas such as airports, airlines, ships, and the financial sector. FIRB serves as a guide for foreign investors to ensure compliance with the Government’s policy.