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Treasurer explains crackdown on ‘predatory’ foreign investment during COVID-19 downturn

All foreign investment in Australia will be subject to approval as the government introduces tough new rules to protect Australian businesses whose assets have been devalued by the COVID-19 crisis.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell the move will protect businesses during the economic downturn caused by coronavirus.

“Many Australian companies are now in distress as a result of the coronavirus … and we want to stop any predatory behaviour that’s not in the national interest,” he said.

“What we want to do now, in these extraordinary times, is have greater scrutiny and visibility of all transactions.”

Mr Frydenberg said all foreign investment will be subject to government approval for “as long as it is necessary”.

Previously, foreign investors required approval before purchasing land or assets in Australia if over a certain value.

The Treasurer stressed the move is temporary and not an attack on foreign investment, which has “served Australia well”.

“One-in-10 Australians work for companies that have benefited from foreign investment,”‘ he said.

Mr Frydenberg also confirmed the federal government will today make a “very significant announcement” about financial relief for those who’ve lost their jobs.

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