Australia to raise the bar for foreign investors

A senate report into the national interest test used by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board calls for tougher screening of overseas bids.
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Australia's government signals tighter rules for foreign purchases of farming land
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<div style="text-align: left;"> Australia's government signals tighter rules for foreign purchases of farming land </div>

Foreign buyers wanting to purchase an asset in Australia often find themselves entangled in a fickle and opaque approval process, according to the findings of a senate inquiry into the country’s foreign-investment ombudsman.

The arbitrary nature in which the Foreign Investment Review Board Firb assesses applications leads to “significant shortcomings in the transparency of the process and in the scrutiny of the national-interest test”, the inquiry concluded.

In some cases, foreign buyers have been able to sway the outcome of an application, and influence how rigorously the national-interest test is applied. Further, companies have got away with breaching the conditions of their Firb approvals due to a...

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