Submission: Response to temporary changes to Australia’s foreign investment framework

The Treasurer, The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, has announced changes to Australia’s foreign investment review framework, effective from 10.30pm on Sunday 29 March 2020, relating to monetary thresholds and timeframes for reviewing applications.

UDIA National has written to the Treasurer to highlight the implications of these changes on approvals of the acquisition of individual land lots and off-the-plan apartments.

UDIA understands the logic of the temporary framework – to provide sufficient scrutiny of all investment during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure it is in the national interest. However, its application is now having implications for the sale of house-and-land packages and off-the-plan apartments.

Evidence from UDIA member companies who are selling new stock, is that purchasers are receiving advice that approvals may take as long as six months in response to applications for exemption certificates.

UDIA National has urged the Government to consider a regime for exemption certificates that involves:

  • Waiving the requirement for foreign residents seeking to acquire individual house-and-land lots, or individual off-the-plan units to obtain Foreign Investment Review Board approval; or, alternatively
  • Guaranteeing that a maximum assessment period of 30 days apply to the approval of claims for exemption certificates for foreign resident purchases of individual house-and-land or individual off-the-plan units.