Working Papers

The Slow and Secretive FIRB

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the Foreign Investment Review Board’s annual report:

THE Foreign Investment Review Board is reinforcing its reputation as one of Canberra’s most secretive bodies. More than a year after the 2007-08 year there is no sign of its annual report.

In contrast, the companies whose fate depends significantly on the board’s deliberations must deliver their annual reports within four months of the end of the financial year…

Although the board carries out confidential consultations with government departments and takes submissions from interested parties in cases that are already in the public domain, its decision-making remains secretive even to those with a close interest in outcomes. Its recommendations are passed directly to the Treasurer and are rarely made public…

Even when the Treasury-controlled board’s 2007-08 report is eventually made public, it is unlikely to reveal little about its deliberations.

The 2006-07 report reveals the number of applications for foreign investment and the decisions made, but does not identify the companies subject to applications.

I make recommendations for reform of the FIRB in my CIS Policy Monograph, Capital Xenophobia II.

posted on 06 July 2009 by skirchner in Economics, Foreign Investment

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