Peter Costello

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Foreign Investment Review Board: 1996-97 Annual Report

NO. 024

EMBARGO

Immediate Release

FOREIGN INVESTMENT REVIEW BOARD: 1996-97 annual REPORT

The Foreign Investment Review Board’s 1996-97 Annual Report was released today.

The main points in the FIRB’S 1996-97 annual report are as follows:

  • Foreign investment policy continued to be applied with the objective of encouraging worthwhile foreign investment.
  • Of the 4,201 proposals decided in 1996-97:
  • 4,096 were approved (2,610 with conditions, mainly in the real estate sector) and 105 were rejected. This compared with 4,005 approvals (2,494 with conditions) and 85 rejections in 1996-97.
  • The rejection rate was 2.5 per cent. All but seven rejections were in the real estate sector, mainly for developed residential real estate (ie, existing dwellings).
  • During 1996-97 there were 7 divestiture orders.
  • Approvals in 1996-97 (either alone or in partnership with Australians) had proposed investment of around $58.6 billion, the highest level of approvals to date. Approvals do not necessarily mean investments proceed.
  • Compared with approvals in 1995-96, proposed investment increased for
  • Manufacturing (from $17.2 billion to $21.2 billion); Resource Processing (from $0.3 billion to $2.6 billion); and Tourism (from $1.4 billion to $2.3 billion).
  • The 168 largest proposals (each with proposed investment of more than $50 million) accounted for about $46 billion or 78 per cent of total proposed investment.
  • Investors from the United States ($18.0 billion), United Kingdom ($5.5 billion), Netherlands ($5.1 billion), Philippines ($3.5 billion) and Singapore ($2.6 billion), provided over half of the total proposed investment in relation to approvals in 1996-97.

The FIRB statistics relate to the administration of foreign investment policy. Major qualifications apply to these statistics, particularly the estimates of proposed investments associated with approvals. For example, the proposals approved may or may not be implemented. If implemented, it could be over a period of years. In addition, more than one proposal may be approved in relation to the same asset, such as in the case of tenders for asset sales. The Board’s statistics are substantively different from the ABS estimates of foreign investment in Australia.

Canberra, ACT Contact: Mr Tony Hinton

5 March 1998 FIRB/Treasury

(02) 6263 3755

5 Mar 1998

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