Foreign investment review laws will be changed to ensure the interests of regional, rural and remote businesses are protected through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

All proposed foreign investments into Australia subject to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (the Act) will require approval, providing a significant protection for agricultural land.

By bringing the threshold for screening down to zero dollars, the Australian Government will ensure all proposed foreign investments are appropriately scrutinised.

Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Nationals Leader Michael McCormack advocated for these changes and welcomed their introduction.

“Foreign investment in Australia can be very beneficial, especially when it supports Australian lives and Australian livelihoods,” Mr McCormack said.

“Through the changes we have announced, we will make sure any foreign investment is in Australia’s national interest.

“This pandemic is placing extraordinary stress on regional economies and local businesses and we will keep taking every measure possible to safeguard their future.

“Regional Australia is resilient and we will get through this crisis together.”

These measures will remain in place for the duration of the current crisis, with the Government recognising foreign investment will play an important part in helping many businesses recover from the pandemic’s economic harm – securing jobs and supporting our economic recovery.

Further administrative details to give effect to this announcement will be published on the FIRB website in due course.