The 3 Bills package in relation to Australia’s foreign investment framework have passed the House of Representatives and are currently before the Senate, with the majority of the Senate Economics Legislation Committee recommending that they be passed.

The package of Bills currently before the Senate consists of:

  • the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Cth);
  • the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Fees Imposition Bill 2015 (Cth); and
  • the Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land Bill 2015 (Cth).

Following referral, the Senate Economics Legislation Committee reported on the Bills on 14 October 2015 with the majority recommending that the Bills be passed.  The Senate’s next sitting commences on 9 November 2015.

For further detail on the Bills and their background, see:

  • Government strengthens, and seeks to modernise, Australia’s foreign investment framework by Deborah Johns on 2 July 2015;
  • Exposure draft foreign investment legislation by Deborah Johns on 27 July 2015; and
  • What's FIRB up to: Impact of the new Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Bill by Claire Boyd and Callista Barrett in the August WA Resources Update.

The following further exposure draft Regulations have also been released, with submissions due by Friday 30 October 2015:

  • Exposure Draft Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Regulation 2015 which will replace the existing regulations upon enactment of the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 and contains key provisions such as the definition of agribusiness, definitions and rules around foreign government investors and would also implement other aspects of the Government’s announced modernisation package; and
  • Exposure Draft Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Fees Imposition Regulation 2015 which provides for fees for notifiable actions and the exemption certificate included in the Exposure Draft Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Regulation 2015, as well as draft sections prescribing a lower fee amount or a method of working out the lower fee amount.

While the Government is also proposing to make rules to the Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land Bill 2015, it has indicated that these rules will focus on the meaning of agricultural land and given the purpose of the Agricultural Land Register, are unlikely to provide exemptions.