Our approach to compliance

Maintaining strong compliance with Australia’s foreign investment laws is a priority for the Australian Government to ensure that foreign investment is in line with the national interest (or national security).

Together with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), we aim to ensure the obligations of those seeking to invest in Australia are clear and easy to understand. These obligations are set out in the foreign investment framework.

We seek to understand risks posed by investors and others in our regulatory framework along a compliance continuum. This helps direct the posture of our regulatory and compliance responses which may range from education to criminal prosecution.

We use several strategies and activities to ensure foreign investor compliance, including:

  • education, assisting foreign investors and their advisers to understand the foreign investment laws and any conditions attached to their investment
  • market intelligence, using data and information to target non-compliance
  • compliance assurance, including audits and monitoring of information provided by investors
  • enforcement through sanctions and penalties where investors are deliberately not complying.

Our compliance and enforcement powers allow us to identify, prevent and respond to instances of non-compliance.

We also have the power to direct investors to take or cease actions and also to issue an infringement notice to them.

The Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014 gives us monitoring and investigation powers.

See our Compliance Framework Policy Statement


How we assess your compliance

We may carry out compliance assessments and investigations by:

  • seeking information from investors
  • using our powers under the Act to ask for information or documents
  • using the monitoring and investigation powers under the Regulatory Powers Act.

Decisions on the most appropriate method of assessing compliance or investigating non-compliance are made on a case-by-case basis.

We encourage you to tell us if you are non-compliant. We prefer to work with you to achieve compliance in cases where:

  • non-compliance is inadvertent and self-reported
  • the breach is administrative in nature
  • you are willing to remediate the breach as quickly as possible.

Lower penalties may also apply for non-compliance that is voluntarily reported.

The ATO is responsible for compliance and enforcement activities for proposals including residential real estate.

Further information on how the ATO approaches these activities.

ATO website

You can make a voluntary disclosure by emailing foreigninvestmentcompliance@treasury.gov.au.

Report a breach of the foreign investment rules

If you have information about a suspected breach of Australia’s foreign investment laws, you can report this to us.

You should provide complete and factual details that will allow us to make an accurate assessment of the information. We take reports seriously, and privacy will be maintained, where appropriate under law.

Visit our contact page to report a breach.

Contact us