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Local business incentives - Legal forms of companies - Registration and licensing procedures - Legal framework - Foreign exchange control - Regulations concerning equity investment - FDI inflows - Expertise of the political risk

Local business incentives

The Australian government encourages investments essentially in Research and Development and in new industry creation. The Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources (ITR) have a range of programs and actions aimed at increasing prosperity for all Australians through internationally competitive and sustainable business. It works through organisations such as Invest Australia, which is the inward investment promotion agency for the whole of Australia, and may be contacted in order to get an investor guide.


Legal forms of companies

Form Number of partners/shareholders Minimum and/or maximum capital Liability Registration fee Release of financial documents
Sole trader is a sole proprietorship 1 person No minimum capital. Liability of the sole entrepreneur is unlimited. Less than AUD 1,500 No
Private or Proprietary Company is a Private Limited Company. Minimum 2 partners. 50 partners maximum. No minimum capital. Partners' liability is limited to the amount contributed. About AUD 1,500 No
Public Company is Public Limited Company. 5 partners minimum. No minimum capital. Partners' liability is limited to the amount contributed. About AUD 1,500 Yes
General Partnership. 20 partners maximum. No minimum capital. Liability is unlimited, joint and several. Less than AUD 1,500 No
Limited Partnership 20 partners maximum.
Two types of partners: active partners and sleeping partners.
No minimum capital. Liability of active partners is unlimited. Liability of sleeping partners is limited to the amount contributed as long as they do not take part into the compnay management. Less than AUD 1,500 No

Registration and licensing procedures
Articles of incorporation consist of a "Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association" and must be drawn up in English.
Status must be registered with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASC). The company's registered name must be registered in the State or the Territory where the company is set up. The National Register of Trade Names issues an Australian Company Number. When the certificate of incorporation is delivered, the company can start its activity. Registration of the company's name is valid throughout the federal territory and the established company can develop its activities in Australia, with no additional formalities.

Legal framework
The Foreign Acquisition and Takeovers Act of 1975 (FATA), revised several times (and notably on July 1st of 1987) regulates foreign investments in Australia.

The Foreign Investments Review Board is charged with examining proposals by foreign investors to invest in Australian business or real estate.

Foreign exchange control
Currency exchange control has been suspended in 1983. Consequently, free conversion of currencies is carried out as well as the right to transfer profits and capital, provided that all transactions exceeding AUD 5,000 or the equivalent in foreign currencies are declared with the Australian Transactions Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC). Finally, the official applicable exchange rate is the ruling transfer rate. {AUSTRAC}

Regulations concerning equity investment
A mixed regime, more flexible since its implementation in 1975, is applicable. However, the control authority can refuse the acquisition by a foreign company of a local company, in case it is contrary to national interests. See FIRB  

Foreign Direct Investment inflows in Australia

FDI inflows 2003 2004 2005 World rank (*)
FDI inflows (USD million) 9 722 42 390 34 547 111/141
Source : UNCTAD - World Investment Report
Note : (*) World Rank = UNCTAD Inward FDI Performance Index. It is a measure of the extend to which a host country receives inward FDI relative to its economic size. It is calculated as a ratio of the country's share in global FDI inflows to its share in global GDP.


Last modified in 2006 - ongoing update
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