Tuesday, 1 December 2015
Statements by Members
Foreign Investment: Housing
One issue that is continually raised with me is the concern that Deakin residents have with the rules around foreign investment in residential real estate and how these rules have been routinely ignored by investors, real estate agents and, quite frankly, governments in the past. Consequently, I hosted a community forum on the matter earlier in the year with local residents to provide them an opportunity to voice their concerns and provide feedback. We were fortunate to be joined by then parliamentary secretary, the Hon. Kelly O'Dwyer, who had just concluded an inquiry on behalf of the government into the effectiveness of these rules. Minister O'Dwyer reported that the inquiry had found a poor history of monitoring and enforcement in this area by the Foreign Investment Review Board, particularly under the former Labor government.
I am pleased that from today greater investigation and compliance powers have been handed to the Australian Taxation Office and strict new penalties have been introduced for those caught breaking the rules, including fines of up to $675,000 for companies. Civil penalties forcing the forfeiture of any capital gains made as a result of a divestment order are also in place. Application fees have also been put in place to ensure that Australians who want to purchase their first home are not disadvantaged. I want to thank everybody involved in putting together these new rules. The test now will be for a Liberal government, a coalition government, to enforce the rules that Labor would never enforce.