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Australian Senate approves CGT exemption for foreign investors

The Australian Senate approved, on 6 December 2006, the Tax Laws Amendment (2006 Measures No. 4) Bill, which exempts foreigners from paying capital gains tax on Australian assets, excluding items such as real estate and mining rights.

The government believes the measure is needed to boost investment in the Australian economy and bring the country into line with laws in other OECD countries. Treasurer Peter Costello said: “The amendments will encourage more investment in Australia by aligning Australian law more consistently with international practice.”

Supported by business and investment groups, the bill provoked fierce opposition, particularly from within the governing National/Liberal coalition party. National Party Senator Bill Joyce, who crossed the floor to vote against the government, argued that it was unfair to expect Australians to continue to pay capital gains tax while foreigners benefited from a significant tax break on the sale of their investments.

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