Sheltons Group Legal – an Australian law firm based in London
Investing in Australia?
Know your obligations under the new Register of Foreign Ownership of Australian Assets
From 1 July 2023, foreign investors have been required to notify the newly established Register of Foreign Ownership of Australian Assets (the Register) if they acquire interests in particular Australian based assets. Notice must also be given if an Australian entity, that held an interest prior to 1 July 2023, becomes foreign owned after such date.
The information stored on the Register is not publicly available, and its purpose is to give the Australian government greater visibility of foreign ownership of Australian assets.
The following are some of the types of interests which will require a foreign investor to give notice to the Register:
- an interest in Australian land which is a freehold interest, a long-term lease (where the term including any options exceeds 5 years), or an interest in an exploration tenement
- an interest in a share or unit of an Australian land corporation or trust or an interest in a share of the trustee of an Australian land trust
- a registerable water interest, and
- an equitable interest in a long-term lease or licence of agricultural land.
Generally, a foreign investor must give notice to the Register within 30 days after they acquire an interest, or if there is a change of at least 5% in the interest of an entity.
Civil penalties will apply if an entity fails to give notice to the Register within the relevant timeframes. Additionally, foreign investors may have ongoing notification obligations depending on the nature of the asset.
What does this mean for your business?
The implementation of the Register increases regulatory compliance for foreign businesses that plan to invest and operate in Australia.
It will mean that your internal procedures will need to be updated, especially if you are a business that undertakes a broad range of commercial activities within Australia.
If you’re looking to invest or establish operations in Australia, or if you’re an Australian entity looking to receive foreign investment, then feel free to let our London-based Australian qualified lawyers know and we can discuss how we can assist.
Sheltons Group Legal (London and Sydney)