color strip

Register of Foreign Ownership of Water or Agricultural Land Rules 2017

25 January 2017 | Consultation Paper

The Government has released for consultation draft rules to support the Register of Foreign Ownership of Water or Agricultural Land Act 2015 (the Act) and a draft Water Registration Form which outlines the proposed data fields for water registration.

As part of the foreign investment framework reform package, the Government agreed to introduce legislation to establish a Water Register before 1 December 2016.

Following consultation, the 2016-17 Budget provided that the Government would implement the Water Register by requiring foreign persons to notify and update their interests in water entitlements with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

The legislation to give effect to the Water Register passed Parliament on 1 December 2016.

Water entitlements will not need to be registered before 1 July 2017.

The Act provides that Rules may exempt kinds of water rights from the definition of ‘registrable water entitlement’ or that certain foreign persons do not need to register.

Broadly, the draft rules propose that the following exemptions will apply to the requirement to register with the ATO:

  • It is proposed that ‘harvestable rights’ will be exempt from the definition of ‘registrable water entitlement’. The term ‘harvestable right’ takes a different meaning in different jurisdictions but for the purposes of the Water Register it will be a right which allows water harvested from rainfall to be used for stock and domestic purposes.
  • It is proposed that irrigation infrastructure operators will not need to register the water they hold for the purposes of meeting their requirements under an irrigation right with a customer, or conveyance water, which is the additional water which may be lost in transit or as a result of seepage or evaporation.
  • It is also proposed that foreign persons will not need to register registrable water entitlements or contractual water rights which are obtained through the enforcement of a security held for the purposes of a money lending agreement.

Making a Submission

Interested parties are invited to comment on the draft Register of Foreign Ownership of Water or Agricultural Land Rules 2017 and the draft Water Registration Form.

While submissions may be lodged electronically or by post, electronic lodgement is preferred. For accessibility reasons, please submit responses sent via email in a Word or RTF format. An additional PDF version may also be submitted.

All information (including name and address details) contained in submissions will be made available to the public on the Treasury website unless you indicate that you would like all or part of your submission to remain in confidence. Automatically generated confidentiality statements in emails do not suffice for this purpose. Respondents who would like part of their submission to remain in confidence should provide this information marked as such in a separate attachment.

Legal requirements, such as those imposed by the Freedom of Information Act 1982, may affect the confidentiality of your submission.

Closing date for submissions: Friday, 3 March 2017

Address written submissions to:

Division Head
Foreign Investment Division
The Treasury
Langton Crescent

For enquiries please call Anna Schneider Rumble +61 2 6263 3852.

Key Documents

Make a Submission

  • Alternatively submit via post. Please include the attached submission cover sheet. 60KB
Ref Num: {BDCAEF7B-F977-4411-B220-C4E8974160AF}
color strip

Contact the Treasury

Telephone +61 2 6263 2111 or
1800 020 008 (Switchboard, 8.00 am to 5.30pm AEST)
Facsimile: + 61 2 6263 2869
Email Us
ABN: 92 802 414 793