Australia has enjoyed a surge in foreign investment under the Coalition Government. Once again, Australia is open for business.
The Foreign Investment Review Board 2013-14 Annual Report shows a significant increase in both the number and value of approved foreign investments in Australia.
Approval was given for $167.4 billion of proposed investment in 2013-14. This represented a 23.4 per cent increase on the $135.7 billion approved in 2012-13.
In real estate, approved investment was $74.6 billion, up from $51.9 billion the previous year.
The number of approved residential real estate proposals has almost doubled from 11,668 to 23,054 in 2013-14. Proposed investment in residential real estate increased to $34.7 billion, up from $17.2 billion. Commercial real estate also increased to $39.9 billion from $34.8 billion.
Approved business investment (non-real estate) in 2013-14 was $92.8 billion, an increase of 10.7 per cent. Foreign investment approvals in the services sector (excluding tourism) more than doubled to $53.4 billion. It was the largest non-real estate sector for investment by value.
Since coming to Government we have provided stable and consistent decision making, lowered sovereign risk by abolishing the carbon tax and the mining tax and have removed more than 50,000 pages of unnecessary regulation.
The Coalition has also streamlined the environmental approval process. In 2014 we halved the time taken for final environmental approvals compared with the previous year.
All of this helps make Australia a more competitive and attractive place to do business.
For the first time China ($27.7 billion) was the largest source country for approved investment, overtaking the United States ($17.5 billion). Other major source countries of investment were Canada ($15.4 billion), Malaysia ($7.2 billion) and Singapore ($7.1 billion).
Foreign investment in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector increased from $2.9 billion to $3.4 billion, while the number of proposals decreased from 91 to 58.
The 58 approvals in this sector represent around two per cent of the total value of approved investment in 2013-14. The two largest source economies of investment by value were Canada and Hong Kong ($0.6 billion), followed by the United States ($0.58 billion).
The mineral exploration and development sector decreased to $22 billion from $45.1 billion, consistent with the transition of the mining construction boom into the production phase.
Three proposals were rejected, compared with zero rejected proposals under the previous Government. Two related to residential real estate and the other related to the rejection in November 2013 of Archer Daniel Midlands Company’s proposed takeover of GrainCorp Limited.
Foreign investment is critical to the Australian economy. We welcome all foreign investment that is not contrary to our national interests. A strong regulatory framework is essential to maintain the integrity of the system and we will have more to say about that in the coming days.