Foreigners admit overstaying their Australian land ownership

Foreigners admit overstaying their Australian land ownership
Foreigners admit overstaying their Australian land ownership

The Opposition has again slammed Treasurer Joe Hockey's latest crackdown on foreigners owning Australian land, describing it as a diversion from tackling housing affordability.

Mr Hockey announced the forced sale of six homes around the country. 

Three of the properties were in the Sydney suburbs of Eastwood, Fairfield and Mosman, two were in Kewdale in Perth and the other at Eight Mile Plains on the outskirts of Brisbane.

There were five owners from four different countries who had come forward since the crackdown began in ernest with a $39 million diverestiture order against a Piper Point buyer in March.

The six self reported cases ranged in price from $152,000 to $1.86 million.

There are 50 investigators looking into 462 cases in which foreigners were suspected of having bought or retained existing property without correct approvals. 

The Australian Taxation Office, the Foreign Investment Review Board, Department of Immigration and AUSTRAC have uncovered more than 2000 pieces of information relating to suspected breaches since monitoring of residential property acquisitions was shifted to the ATO in May from the FIRB. 

The Treasurer outlined his new, harsher penalties that will be enforced from December, against foreign investors who illegally buy established Australian properties or don't sell when the laws required.

"The period of amnesty we announced in May means that no criminal conviction is recorded for those who self-report by November 30, and they have to re-sell their property in 12 months, instead of three," Mr Hockey said.

"Australia welcomes foreign investment and Australia needs foreign investment but, at all times, foreign investors must comply with our laws," Joe Hockey said on Saturday.

"Some of the five investors have purchased property with Foreign Investment Review Board approval, but their circumstances have changed and they have failed to comply with the divestment requirements.

"Some have simply broken the rules by purchasing a property without approval and done so against the law.

"Time is running out for foreign investors to voluntarily come forward if they have illegally purchased existing residential real estate," Mr Hockey warned. 

"They have until November 30, 2015 to come to us before we come to them."

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

Tags: 
Housing Affordability Treasury Housing Affordability

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