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Australia gov’t to double foreign investment fees, penalties

SYDNEY — Australia will double the fees for foreign investors looking to buy assets in the country, Treasurer Jim Chalmers said on Friday, as he grapples with protracted budget deficits and seeks to boost government revenue. 

The increase in fees and penalties for purchases of property, farms and businesses in Australia is expected to generate an additional $315 million in revenue over the next four years, Mr. Chalmers said. 

Mr. Chalmers said he continued to back foreign investment in Australia but he had to make the decision due to “the state of the budget we have inherited from our predecessors.”

“Foreign investment fees will continue to make up only a small proportion of total foreign direct investment,” he said in a statement. The new measures will take effect from July 29. 

Mr. Chalmers earlier this week warned the country’s economic picture would be “confronting” as the government prepares to release updated economic forecasts to parliament on July 28 to account for faster inflation and rising interest rates. 

The recently elected Labor Government, having promised during the election campaign not to raise taxes, has also warned that spending will have to be trimmed to restrain government debt. — Reuters

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