Why Australa is open for foreign investors . . .
IT IS the privatisation of Australia’s critical infrastructure that has led to consideration of national security implications when foreign investors seek to acquire such assets, says David Irvine, Chair of the Foreign Investment Review Board . . .
SYDNEY — David Irvine, the former Head of Australia’s spy agencies, acceded to the Chair of the Federal Government’s Foreign Investment Review Board In the wake of a number of controversial rulings against foreign investors.
Not unexpectedly, the commentariat in the media looked at his appointment as the Government shifting its emphasis to national security.
But this could not be further from the truth, Irvine told an audience attending a CEDA (Committee for Economic Development of Australia) event in Sydney.
Irvine said a lot was said at the time of his appointment suggesting that, given his background, FIRB was shifting its focus to national security to the exclusion of all other considerations.
“Frankly, national security issues only impinge on a very, very small number of advisory notes provided by FIRB to the Treasurer (Scott Morrison),” he said.
Indeed, the composition of the FIRB decision-making process includes people with experience on taxation issues, resource investment, agriculture investment and so on, he added.
In recent times, national security has become an issue in a number of proposed acquisitions – more so than in the past because of privatisation and sale of public assets.