Foreign investment changes are a step in the right direction

01 May 2024

The Government’s changes to foreign investment today, committing to improving approval times and making the process more transparent, are a step in the right direction to generate more economic opportunities and jobs in Australia, according to the Business Council. 

Business Council Chief Executive Bran Black said the BCA had long advocated for improvements to Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) processes and a proactive plan to attract more capital.

“Australia is competing for global investment opportunities, which create jobs and economic opportunities locally, and these FIRB changes announced today are a step in the right direction,” Mr Black said.

“The BCA has advocated for the Government to go further and undertake a proactive investment strategy, built off the back of a Harrington-style review which was conducted in the UK.

“We want the Treasurer to follow through on his early signals and include a whole-of-government investment strategy, a single ‘front door’ for investors and tax incentives for investment, in the upcoming Budget.

“With economic growth slowing and productivity lagging, it is more important than ever to ensure Australia isn’t overlooked as an investment destination, because that will cost jobs and opportunities for Australians.”

Mr Black said it was a commonsense change to fast-track investment opportunities from companies with a proven track record.

“Refunding certain FIRB fees and setting a new target for 30-day approvals are important measures and we hope these are just the start of many more pro-investment reforms to come.

“We need to ensure we continue to attract investment from all parts of the globe and it is appropriately scrutinised, not shut out, as part of this more transparent approach.”

Mr Black said at the same time, the Government needs to address the underlying issues in the economy.

“If we want to shift the dial and make Australia an attractive investment destination, we must get our settings on the fundamentals right. That includes our industrial relations, tax system, planning and regulatory settings.

“These are the settings that really count when it comes to having boards approve major new investments.

“When I talk to CEOs and directors, their number one concern is that Australia is not competitive enough to win investment opportunities from other countries.”


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