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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 8672

Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (18:17): I thank Senator Madigan for that question. Yes, the government is aware and, yes, I am aware. I might remind Senator Madigan and the Senate that the current threshold is $252 million. Labor initially thought that we should lift that threshold. Not reduce it but lift it from $252 million to $1 billion. Labor has now changed its mind to say that it should be brought down to $50 million. We think it should be brought down to $15 million. We think we have the balance right in relation to the line in the sand that we have drawn. It is based on extensive consultation, in particular in the lead-up to the last election.

I might add here that this $15 million threshold is a cumulative threshold, so if one foreign purchaser sought to purchase several lots of land it all adds up and if it reaches the $15 million screening threshold it would trigger Foreign Investment Review Board consideration under the terms of this legislation. Some people in the Senate are saying that we have taken the threshold too low and other people are saying that we are leaving it too high. We think that we have the balance right.