• Media Release

Treasurer’s Foreign Investment Reforms An Important step toward greater competitiveness in critical minerals sector

The Mineral Council of Australia welcomes Treasurer Chalmer’s announcement to renew Australia’s foreign investment framework.  

It is critical that Australia’s minerals sector remains internationally competitive to attract the foreign investment needed to build the new mines and processing infrastructure required for the future.  

These reforms are one important step towards the recommendations for which the MCA has long advocated.  

The Treasurer’s plan to streamline the FIRB processing regime, increase the efficiency of approvals, and enhance transparency mirrors the MCA’s longstanding call for a more dynamic and less burdensome regulatory environment, particularly in the critical and strategic minerals sector.  

The MCA is encouraged by the Government’s commitment to accelerate foreign investment in low-risk critical minerals, critical technology and related projects from known investors, as this directly aligns with recommendation six in the MCA’s pre-budget submission.  

This recommendation urged the Government to streamline rules under the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act (FATA), specifically to foster investments that are aligned with strategic partner countries in the mining and downstream processing projects for critical minerals.  

The MCA has consistently highlighted the competitive disadvantage that Australia’s current foreign investment framework imposes on the mining, processing and manufacturing sectors, especially for smaller, complex, and higher-risk projects dependent on significant new infrastructure and logistics.  

The Government’s reforms are a promising step toward mitigating these challenges and enhancing Australia’s attractiveness as a prime destination for global capital in the mining sector. 

However, they must be coupled with domestic reforms that drive productivity growth to increase the competitive advantage of investing in Australia.  

It is essential to maintain the provision that allows investors to neutralise the Treasurer’s call-in power by voluntarily notifying of reviewable actions. This measure is crucial for reducing risk and increasing predictability for foreign investors. 

Continuing to explore ways to integrate mining and minerals processing into the clean energy supply chains of strategic partners is essential for strengthening our ability to protect the national interest in an evolving and complex global landscape.  

By addressing these critical areas, the Government can not only assist the mining industry but bolster the national economy by ensuring it remains competitive and well-positioned to capitalise on global shifts in markets for clean energy and advanced technologies. 

The MCA looks forward to continuing to work with the Government to ensure that these reforms not only attract foreign investment but strengthen Australia’s role in the global supply chain for minerals, reinforcing our economic security and contributing to a more resilient and prosperous future.