Foreign investment in Australia

Australian big business is not very Australian at all
by David Richardson

Despite the importance placed on foreign investment, and public sensitivity to it, little data is available on the level of foreign ownership of Australian companies. What data is available often confuses legal and beneficial ownership or is based on limited sample size.

The research report comes amid growing calls for a windfall profits tax on gas.

NOTE: This paper was first published in June 2022 and re-issued in August 2023. The July 2022 version did not adequately describe the geographic ownership data from the Bloomberg database, particularly that the database tracks only a sample of shares on issue. There was also insufficient explanation of the difference between beneficial and legal ownership and the role of nominee companies. The authors regret any confusion caused by the July 2022 version.

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