AUSTRALIA - Foreign investment policy is to be changed in Australia to extend the timeframe for the development of vacant commercial land from 12 months to five years.
At present foreign investors can purchase vacant commercial and residential land. However, under existing policy, it is a condition of approval that foreign investors commence continuous substantial construction on any vacant land acquisitions they make within 12 months of receiving purchase approval.
He said the current time limit on foreign investors discouraged new competitors from entering the market and prevented some existing competitors from expanding their business because they could not secure forward purchases of land in growth areas and 'greenfields' sites.
Bowen said: "The Rudd Government believes that a five year limit strikes the right balance between encouraging competition, while preventing foreign investors from land banking and speculating."
In addition, there is a further restriction requiring foreign investors to spend a minimum amount of 50% of the acquisition cost or value of the vacant land purchase, whichever is higher on development. This restriction will be retained with the government's changes.
"This reform creates a more level playing field, and pulls down the barriers to entry to foster competition," Bowen added.
"The government believes that foreign investment is in our national interest. It creates growth, jobs, and keeps prices lower for Australian consumers."
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