The government has reduced the foreign investment review board threshold from $252 million to $15 million for international purchases of agricultural land.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey announced the changes today, delivering on a promise made at the last election.
“The Government will continue to welcome foreign investment, but the community must have confidence that this investment is coming in on our terms and for our nation’s benefit,” the government said in a statement.
The changes come into effect from March 1 and will apply to the cumulative value of agricultural land owned by the foreign investor, including the proposed purchase.
The Government will also establish a foreign ownership register of agricultural land to provide a clearer picture of foreign investment in Australia’s agricultural sector.
From July 1 the tax office will start collecting information on all new foreign investment in agricultural land regardless of value. The ATO will also complete a stocktake of existing agricultural land held by foreigners.
Abbott and Hockey said they are also considering recommendations which were handed down by a Parliamentary Committee inquiry into foreign investment in residential real estate and reforms will be announced in coming weeks.
“There does need to be better enforcement of the rules for foreign purchases of existing homes so that young people are not priced out of the market,” the statement said.