Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

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A Bill for an Act to maintain Australian ownership of Australian agribusiness and land, and for related purposes
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Registered 05 Jun 2013
Introduced HR 03 Jun 2013

2010‑2011‑2012‑2013

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian Ownership Bill 2013

 

No.      , 2013

 

(Mr Katter)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to maintain Australian ownership of Australian agribusiness and land, and for related purposes

  

  

  


Contents

Part 1—Preliminary                                                                                                             1

1............ Short title............................................................................................. 1

2............ Commencement................................................................................... 2

3............ Extension to external Territories.......................................................... 2

4............ Act prevails over other inconsistent law.............................................. 2

5............ Definitions.......................................................................................... 2

Part 2—Maintaining Australian ownership of Australian agribusiness and Australian land    4

6............ FIRB review of foreign investment proposals affecting large Australian agribusiness or Australian land               4

7............ Limit on foreign investment in large Australian agribusiness and Australian land   5

Part 3—Miscellaneous                                                                                                         7

8............ Anti‑avoidance.................................................................................... 7

9............ Application of Part 2........................................................................... 7

10.......... Application of Crimes Act 1914.......................................................... 7

11.......... Australian Ownership Rules............................................................... 7

 


A Bill for an Act to maintain Australian ownership of Australian agribusiness and land, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

Part 1Preliminary

  

1  Short title

                   This Act may be cited as the Australian Ownership Act 2013.

2  Commencement

                   This Act commences on the day after this Act receives the Royal Assent.

3  Extension to external Territories

                   This Act extends to every external Territory.

4  Act prevails over other inconsistent law

                   To the extent that this Act would be inconsistent with a provision of the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 or of any other law, this Act prevails.

5  Definitions

                   In this Act:

associate has the meaning given by the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975.

Australian agribusiness means an Australian business (within the meaning of the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975) whose main source of revenue is agribusiness.

Australian land means land in Australia.

foreign person has the meaning given by the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975.

large Australian agribusiness means an Australian agribusiness the value of whose total assets (worked out in accordance with section 13B of the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975) exceeds $1 million.

ownership interest:

                     (a)  in a large Australian agribusiness—means any of the following:

                              (i)  a share in a company that carries on a large Australian agribusiness;

                             (ii)  a share in a holding company of a company that carries on a large Australian agribusiness;

                            (iii)  any other form of interest prescribed by the Rules; and

                     (b)  in Australian land—means any of the following:

                              (i)  a legal or equitable interest in the land;

                             (ii)  any other form of interest prescribed by the Rules.

relevant influence, over a large Australian agribusiness, means influence prescribed by the Rules.

Rules means the Australian Ownership Rules made under section 11.


 

Part 2Maintaining Australian ownership of Australian agribusiness and Australian land

  

6  FIRB review of foreign investment proposals affecting large Australian agribusiness or Australian land

             (1)  The Foreign Investment Review Board must review any proposal that would result in a foreign person, or 2 or more foreign persons, alone or together with associates, acquiring any of the following:

                     (a)  an ownership interest in a large Australian agribusiness;

                     (b)  relevant influence over a large Australian agribusiness;

                     (c)  an ownership interest in any parcel of Australian land of more than 4 hectares.

             (2)  The Foreign Investment Review Board must:

                     (a)  consider whether the result of the proposal would be contrary to the national interest; and

                     (b)  make recommendations to the Treasurer for the purposes of subsection (3).

             (3)  If the Treasurer considers, having regard to the recommendations of the Foreign Investment Review Board under subsection (2), that the result of the proposal:

                     (a)  would be contrary to the national interest; or

                     (b)  would contravene subsection 7(1);

the Treasurer must, by notice in writing, prohibit the proposed acquisition.

             (4)  A person commits an offence if the person contravenes a notice given under subsection (3).

Penalty:

                     (a)  for the first day on which the person contravenes the notice—50% of the value given by or on behalf of the person to make the prohibited acquisition; and

                     (b)  for each subsequent day—$500,000.

             (5)  If a person acquires an interest or influence in contravention of a notice under subsection (3), the Treasurer may, by notice in writing, order the person to dispose of the interest or influence within a specified time to any person or persons approved in writing by the Treasurer.

             (6)  A person commits an offence if the person contravenes a notice given under subsection (5).

Penalty:

                     (a)  for the first day on which the person contravenes the notice—50% of the value given by or on behalf of the person to make the prohibited acquisition; and

                     (b)  for each subsequent day—5% of that value.

             (7)  If:

                     (a)  a corporation commits an offence under subsection (4) or (6); and

                     (b)  an officer of the corporation authorised or permitted the commission of the offence;

the officer commits an offence under this section.

Penalty:  $100,000.

7  Limit on foreign investment in large Australian agribusiness and Australian land

             (1)  A foreign person, or 2 or more foreign persons, alone or together with associates, must not hold ownership interests of more than 49% in:

                     (a)  a large Australian agribusiness; or

                     (b)  a parcel of Australian land of more than 4 hectares.

             (2)  If the Treasurer considers that one or more foreign persons has contravened subsection (1), the Treasurer may, by notice in writing, order the person or persons to take any action the Treasurer considers necessary to ensure that subsection (1) ceases to be contravened, by the end of the period specified in the notice.

             (3)  A person commits an offence if the person contravenes a notice given under subsection (2).

Penalty:

                     (a)  for the first day on which the person contravenes the notice—50% of the value of the person’s share of the ownership interest; and

                     (b)  for each subsequent day—5% of that value.

             (4)  Subsection (3) does not apply if the Foreign Investment Review Board has determined in writing that the holding of the ownership interests by the person or persons and any associates provides substantial benefits to the nation and is in the national interest (for example, by the opening of new markets, by providing for the financial betterment of all Australians or by providing for either or both technological advancement and major capital investment).

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection (4): see subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.

             (5)  On request by a person or persons to whom a notice has been given, or is expected to be given, under subsection (2), the Foreign Investment Review Board:

                     (a)  must consider whether to make a determination for the purposes of subsection (4); and

                     (b)  may make or refuse to make the determination.

             (6)  If:

                     (a)  a corporation commits an offence under subsection (3); and

                     (b)  an officer of the corporation authorised or permitted the commission of the offence;

the officer commits an offence under this section.

Penalty:  $100,000.


 

Part 3Miscellaneous

  

8  Anti‑avoidance

                   For the purposes of this Act, in determining whether a person or persons has acquired or proposes to acquire an ownership interest in a parcel of land of at least 4 hectares, regard may be had to multiple acquisitions and to multiple parcels of adjoining land.

9  Application of Part 2

             (1)  Section 6 applies to:

                     (a)  any proposal made after this Act commences; and

                     (b)  any proposal made but not implemented before this Act commences.

             (2)  Subsection 7(2) does not apply in relation to a contravention of subsection 7(1) if the circumstances that give rise to the contravention were in existence for at least 12 months before this Act commenced.

10  Application of Crimes Act 1914

                   Section 4AB of the Crimes Act 1914 does not apply to this Act.

Note:          Section 4AB of the Crimes Act 1914 has the effect of converting penalties expressed in dollars into a number of penalty units.

11  Australian Ownership Rules

                   The Minister may, by legislative instrument, make rules prescribing matters:

                     (a)  required or permitted by this Act to be prescribed by the Rules; or

                     (b)  necessary or convenient to be prescribed in order to carry out or give effect to this Act.