Investing in Australia

The Australian Government welcomes productive foreign direct investment. It has helped build Australia’s economy and contributes to economic growth, innovation, and prosperity.

To protect Australia’s interests whilst maximising investment flows, certain foreign acquisitions of Australian shares and assets are reviewed by the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).

Most foreign investment proposals are approved. Once approved, foreign investors are generally treated the same as domestic investors under Australia’s laws.

Levels of government in Australia

Australia is a representative parliamentary democracy with three levels of government: federal, state and territory, and local. This multilayer governance system affects a number of sectors and industries that foreign investors may seek to invest in, including natural resources, infrastructure, commercial real estate, tourism and manufacturing. Foreign investors should have a strong understanding of the responsibilities of each level of government prior to investing in these sectors. For more information, please see the Introduction to the levels of government in Australia: Implications for investors publication.

Foreign investment framework

Australia’s foreign investment policy framework comprises the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975, its related regulations, and Australia’s Foreign Investment Policy.

Australia's Foreign Investment Policy provides guidance on what factors are typically considered in assessing whether an investment proposal is contrary to the national interest. The concept of national interest includes factors such as national security, competition, the impact on other Australian Government policies (such as tax and environmental policy), the impact on the economy and the community, and the character of the investor. Where a proposal involves a foreign government or a related entity, the Government also considers the commerciality of the investment.

Foreign investment information

Investment by a foreign entity in Australia may require the formal submission of a proposal. This is subject to approval by the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).

The FIRB examines proposals and advises the Australian Government on whether those proposals are suitable for approval under the Government's policy. Whether a proposal is required to be submitted to FIRB by the investor depends on the monetary value, the nature of the investment, and type of investor.

For details on investments requiring submission, see FIRB: Monetary Thresholds.

Investor obligations

Investors are expected to understand Australia’s regulatory environment and abide by all the relevant requirements. The Foreign Investment Review Board website provides guidance on some of the obligations that foreign investors need to consider.

For information on these obligations, see FIRB: Investor Obligations

Obtaining approval

Proposals for foreign investment in Australia should be submitted to the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). FIRB outlines the information that needs to be included in the investment proposal, along with details on how to apply in the policy statement.

For information on obtaining approval to invest, see FIRB: How to Apply