Government urged to better enforce foreign investment rules

A PARLIAMENTARY committee has recommended stronger enforcement of rules around foreign property investment.

In particular, the committee has urged the Government to bring in tougher penalties for breaches and more resources to detect illegal real estate buying and ownership.

The Commonwealth Treasurer Joe Hockey earlier this year tasked the House Economics Committee with looking at how effective the rules around foreign residential real estate investment are.

After six public hearings and 92 submissions, the committee has found that the rules themselves are sound, but that the Foreign Investment Review Board's (FIRB) enforcement of them and penalties for breaching them are grossly inadequate.

The committee's chairman, Liberal MP Kelly O'Dwyer, said there has been no court action for breaches of the rules since 2006 and it "defies belief" that there have been no breaches over that period.

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