Michael Sukkar MP

Federal Member for Deakin
Shadow Minister for Social Services
Shadow Minister for the NDIS
Shadow Minister for Housing
Shadow Minister for Homelessness
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Government orders forced sale of a Blackburn property illegally held by foreign nationals

The Australian Government’s strong foreign investment rules have enabled the Federal Treasurer to order the sale of a further eight Australian residential properties – including a property in Blackburn – held in breach of the foreign investment framework by foreign nationals.

Michael Sukkar, Federal Member for Deakin said, “The Government is committed to ensuring that foreign nationals who illegally purchase Australian property are identified by authorities and their illegal holdings forcibly sold.

“While foreign investment provides significant benefits for Australia, we must also ensure that such investment benefits all Australians, complies with our strict rules and is not contrary to our national interest,” Michael said.

“Community concern with the illegal purchase of Australian properties by foreign nationals is consistently passed on to me. These were conveyed to the Assistant Treasurer, The Hon. Kelly O’Dwyer, at a large community forum in Vermont South last year.”

Properties were purchased in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales with prices ranging from about $200,000 to over $5 million. The individuals involved come from a range of countries – Canada, China, India, Malaysia and the United States of America.

In each of these cases, the foreign investors either purchased established residential property without Foreign Investment Review Board approval, or had approval but their circumstances changed meaning they were breaking the rules.

These divestments are a reminder that the Australian Government’s increased compliance measures working to ensure our foreign investment rules are being enforced.

Under the reduced penalty period announced in May, the investors linked to the eight properties now have 12 months to sell the properties, rather than the normal three month period, and will not be referred for criminal prosecution.

The Government’s transfer of responsibility to the ATO for compliance has enabled more active investigations and actions targeting illegitimate purchases.

Since this transfer in May, over 1,500 matters have been referred for investigation. Through information provided by the public, together with the ATO’s own enquiries, over 800 cases remain under active investigation.