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Foreign investment fee an “outrageous impost” that will hurt economy: PCA

Proposed legislation that will increase the cost of foreign investment applications fees has been slammed by the Property Council of Australia.

The group has labelled the increase “an outrageous impost on safe institutional investment into commercial property” that “discourages the very investment Australia requires to support our economic recovery”.

The PCA argues the blanket fee structure is misguided, and “based purely on the size of the assets, not on the complexity involved with their assessment”.

“The last thing our economy needs is to make it unnecessarily harder for job-creating, economy-boosting investment proposals to get the green light,” PCA Chief Executive, Ken Morrison said, warning the draft fee regime will hit the commercial property sector hard.

“This draft fee regime treats commercial property like it is a national security asset, like ports and telecommunications infrastructure.

“Australian office buildings, shopping centres, industrial parks, retirement villages, tourism assets and other commercial property are vanilla investments from a security perspective, and they attract the highest quality institutional investment from around the world,” Mr Morrison said.

“These pension funds, life companies and other pooled saving vehicles represent the highest quality institutional capital around the globe.

“Why would we make it less attractive for them to invest in Australia, particularly when we will need this investment to kickstart new job-generating projects?

“If the government is going to overhaul foreign investment rules to deal with national security issues, it doesn’t make sense to deter the world’s safest, highest quality investments into uncontentious commercial property assets,” Mr Morrison concluded.

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