Australia Tightens Rules on Foreigners Buying Agricultural Land

by Ray Clancy on February 23, 2015

in Australia, General Information, Property in Australia

The Australian Government has moved to provide certainty about rules applying to foreign investment in agricultural land in Australia.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, in a statement released jointly with Treasurer Joe Hockey and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, said that foreign investment always has, and will continue to be, integral to Australia’s economic success.

UKfarmlandThis comes at a time when there are concerns about foreign investors increasingly buying residential property in Australia and thus pushing up prices for people living in the country.

Now, when it comes to agricultural land, the government also wants to have safeguards. ‘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 statement says.

As a result, the screening threshold for purchases by foreign investors of agricultural land will be reduced from A$252 million to A$15 million from 01 March 2015. The A$15 million threshold applies 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. From 01 July 2015, the Australian Tax Office will collect information on new and existing foreign investment in agricultural land, regardless of value.

Meanwhile it looks likely that the changes to the Significant Investor Visa Scheme (SIV), and the new Premium Investor Visa (PIV) will take effect from 01 July 2015.

The Australian Trade Commission has already released the proposed framework for the change which suggests that half of each applicant’s investment will be directed into managed funds investing in venture capital and small emerging companies.

Under the existing SIV scheme investment is directed largely into lower risk investments like government bonds. Applicants are required to make an investment of at least AU$5 million in complying investments for a minimum of four years. Under the proposed changes government bonds would no longer be a complying investment class.

The proposed complying investment framework for the SIV scheme specifies at least 20% of the applicant’s A$5 million investment must flow into early stage, growth capital investments, through approved venture capital funds.

It also specifies that at least 30% of the applicant’s investment must flow into emerging listed companies, through managed funds investing in small Australian stock exchange listed companies and reinforces the existing rules banning direct investment into residential real estate, and introducing new measures to limit indirect investment into residential real estate.

Industry consultations will continue before the final details of the proposed framework are settled and initial indications are that applications lodged prior to 01 July will be determined on the basis of the currently existing investment framework.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Gaurav July 10, 2016 at 2:11 pm

im interested agriculture land in Australia plz help me this procedure

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Nilkanth February 23, 2017 at 1:48 am

I am interested for purchasing agricultural land in Australia through Australian government. Please help & give all legal procedure which is require. I am from India.

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RS KAHLON March 8, 2017 at 8:38 am

Hi , M interesting for purchasing agricultural land through Australian Government. Plz help me provide legal procedure.. Thanks

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irfan khan May 5, 2017 at 8:54 pm

Hi..i am irfan khan from pakistan and i am intrested to purchase agriculture land in australia throgh australian government by legal procedure plz guide me and i want to know all information

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KARAMVIR SINGH June 18, 2017 at 9:37 am

Hi i am interested in agri land purchase in australia.
Kindly suggest

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Muhammad Khan July 27, 2017 at 10:03 am

I am interested in Australian agricultural land through government. Please advise me. Please

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M. Asad August 22, 2017 at 12:58 pm

I am interested in agri-land purchase in Australia. My qualification is M. Phil (agriculture). So please help me.

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