- AST ACMA published report of December 2022 titled Foreign Ownership of Australian Media Assets: Review of Legislative Requirements; Review of the Foreign Ownership of Media assets (FOMA) scheme and the Register found it is only partly meeting its objectives.
- Consequently, the Report makes 4 recommendations aimed at improving effectiveness and thereby enhancing the longer term utility of the information that it generates.
- Follows AST GVT March 2023 proposals re register of foreign ownership.
- As part of its review, on 14 July 2022, AST ACMA released a consultation paper.
- Invited submissions on operation of FOMA scheme requirements for foreign owners of media assets under Broadcasting Services Act 1992 and the operation of the Register.
- Namely, Register of Foreign Owners of Media Assets, maintained, published by ACMA.
- Recommended AST GVT should review all current reporting, disclosure requirements.
- Namely, all those requirements that apply to foreign persons who invest in Australia's media sector, with a view to consolidating those requirements as far as possible.
- AST GVT should do this with a view to minimizing number of regulatory frameworks as well as AST GVT agencies with which foreign investors are required to engage.
- The foreign shareholding disclosure notification threshold should be increased from 2.5% to 10%.
- This will reduce the associated costs and legal risks associated with the FOMA scheme.
- It will do this by reducing the number of foreign persons required to comply, while still requiring compliance from those foreign persons who are more likely to have potential to exert influence over the operations of one or more Australian media companies.
- Definition of foreign person in Broadcasting Services Act 1992 should be amended.
- Specifically, to either exclude Australian citizens residing overseas or to provide clarification about when Australian citizens who have resided overseas, and are now returning to Australia, cease being foreign persons for purposes of the FOMA scheme.