The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has commenced action against Tully Sugar Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chinese agribusiness company COFCO, after they failed to adequately disclose their stake in Coastal Broadcasters Pty Ltd, which operates three commercial radio stations in regional Queensland.
Any foreign stakeholder with at least 2.5% ownership in Australian media companies are required to notify the ACMA with details of the company interests within 30 days of the end of each financial year. Tully Sugar has 10% stake in Coastal Broadcasters.
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said:
“These rules are designed to provide greater transparency of foreign investment in Australian media companies. Tully Sugar failed to lodge its foreign ownership notification for 2022-23 within the required timeframe after it had been warned when it failed to do so for 2021-22.”
In January 2023 the ACMA issued Tully Sugar with a formal warning, and as Tully Sugar fell short of the notification requirement for 2022-23 again, the ACMA commenced formal enforcement action. This requires Tully Sugar to undertake an independent audit of its compliance systems and processes and then to report to the ACMA on actions taken.
Information provided in foreign ownership notifications goes toward the Foreign Owners of Media Assets Register.