How the Register of Foreign Ownership of Australian Assets operates and increases visibility of foreign investments.
Foreign investment is essential to Australia’s prosperity. It helps to build our economy and enhance the wellbeing of Australians by supporting financial growth.
To support this, the Register of Foreign Ownership of Australian AssetsExternal Link (the Register) was introduced.
On 1 July 2023 the Register commenced. The Register of Foreign Ownership of Water or Agricultural Land Act 2015 was repealed on this date.
Part 7A of the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (the FATA) provides the legislative basis for the commencement of the Register.
- replaces existing foreign investment registers we manage (relating to agricultural and residential land, and water interests)
- expands on assets to be registered
- provides a streamlined experience for foreign investors to manage their investment affairs
- supports compliance with Australia’s foreign investment framework
- increases the government's visibility of foreign investments made in Australia.
Information the register holds
The Register holds details about foreign ownership of Australian assets, including:
- residential land
- commercial land
- agricultural land
- registrable water interests
- business and entity related interests, where applicable
- mining, production, and exploration tenements.
You need to use Online services for foreign investors to give a register notice to the Registrar (register an asset). For details on how to register see Registering Australian assets as a foreign investor.
The Commissioner of Taxation is the Registrar responsible for administering the Register, under the Commonwealth Registers (Appointment of Registers) Instrument 2021.
The Commissioner was appointed as the Registrar of the Register by the Assistant Treasurer, commencing 29 November 2022.
The Registrar's role in administering the Register includes:
- maintaining accurate records of interests and changes that need to be registered for the purposes of administration of the foreign investment laws, such as case management and compliance
- accurate reporting to government of foreign ownership in Australia.
The visibility of interests held by foreign persons in specified assets in Australia will also inform future policy development by government.
The Registrar will take steps to protect personal information they hold about individuals against loss, unauthorised access, use, modification or disclosure and other misuse.
Information on the Register is able to be used, recorded or disclosed for any purpose that protected information can be used under Division 3 of Part 7 of the FATA. Secrecy provisions apply to the information disclosed or obtained under or for the purposes of the FATA.
It is an offence under section 128 of the FATA for a person to disclose protected information. That is unless the disclosure is permitted either under section 130V of the FATA or under one of the exceptions in Division 3 of Part 7 to the FATA.
To the extent that information collected by the Registrar is personal information, there are safeguards to protect an individual's right to privacy. In particular, the Registrar complies with obligations under the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) contained in the Privacy Act 1988 and records authorities issued by the National Archives of Australia.
For supporting legislation and background information, see:
- Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers (Register Notices) Data Standard 2023 (legislation.gov.au)External Link
- Foreign Investment Reform (Protecting Australia’s National Security) Act 2020External Link amended the FATA to include Part 7A
- Treasury’s Foreign investment reformsExternal Link, 5 June 2020
- Major reforms to foreign investment framework