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  • Water register definitions

    This page explains terms used in water register legislation and guidance.

    Contractual water right

    A contractual right (including a deed) that a person or other entity holds (alone or jointly) of all, or part of another person’s ‘registrable water entitlement’ or ‘water allocation’.

    Conveyance water

    The additional water that is required to deliver water to water users, and includes water lost in transit from its source to end users due to seepage, leakage, evaporation or other similar effects.

    FATA

    Means the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975External Link.

    Foreign government investor

    Section 17 of the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Regulation 2015 (Regulation) defines ‘foreign government investor’ as:

    • a foreign government or separate government entity
    • a corporation or trustee of a trust in which either:
      • a foreign government or separate government entity, alone or together with one or more associates, holds a substantial interest (that is, an interest of at least 20%)
      • foreign governments or separate government entities of more than one foreign country (or parts of more than one foreign country), together with any one or more associates, hold an aggregate substantial interest (that is, an interest of at least 40%)
       
    • a general partner of a limited partnership in which either:
      • a foreign government or separate government entity, alone or together with one or more associates, holds an interest of at least 20%
      • foreign governments or separate government entities of more than one foreign country (or parts of more than one foreign country), together with any one or more associates, hold an aggregate interest of 40% or more
      • a corporation, trustee or general partner of a kind described in the two dot points above, assuming the references to foreign government (or foreign governments) in those dot points include references to a foreign government investor (or foreign government investors) within the meaning of those dot points.
       

    Under section 4 of the Act, a ‘foreign government’ means an entity that is either:

    • a body politic of a foreign country
    • a body politic of part of a foreign country
    • a part of a body politic of a foreign country or a part of a body politic of part of a foreign country
    • a ‘separate government entity’ means an individual, corporation or corporation sole that is an agency or instrumentality of a foreign country or a part of a foreign country, but not part of the body politic of a foreign country or of a part of a foreign country.

    Foreign government investors (and foreign governments) are ‘foreign persons’ for the purposes of the Act (section 4 of the Act and section 18 of the Regulation). This means that the requirements imposed by the Act apply to all foreign government investors unless an exemption in the Regulation applies. Exemptions in the Regulations apply to foreign government investors unless foreign government investors have been specifically excluded.

    See also:

    Foreign person

    Means either:

    • an individual not ordinarily resident in Australia
    • a corporation in which an individual not ordinarily resident in Australia, a foreign corporation or a foreign government holds a substantial interest
    • a corporation in which two or more persons, each of whom is an individual not ordinarily resident in Australia, a foreign corporation or a foreign government, hold an aggregate substantial interest
    • the trustee of a trust in which an individual not ordinarily resident in Australia, a foreign corporation or a foreign government holds a substantial interest
    • the trustee of a trust in which two or more persons, each of whom is an individual not ordinarily resident in Australia, a foreign corporation or a foreign government, hold an aggregate substantial interest
    • a foreign government
    • any other person, or any other person that meets the conditions, prescribed by the regulations.

    Note: In certain circumstances, an associate of a foreign person may be taken to be a foreign person even if the associate is not a foreign person (see subsection 54(7) of the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975External Link).

    See also:

    GL / Gigalitre

    A metric unit of capacity equivalent to 1 billion litres (equivalent to 1,000 megalitres (ML)).

    Ground water

    Means either:

    • water occurring naturally below ground level (whether in an aquifer or otherwise)
    • water occurring at a place below ground that has been pumped, diverted or released to that place for the purpose of being stored there

    but does not include water held in underground tanks, pipes or other works.

    Interest

    Means:

    Note: For other rules relating to interests in a security, asset, trust or Australian land, see section 13 to 15 of the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975External Link.

    See also:

    Irrigation right

    Means a right that:

    • a person has against an irrigation infrastructure operator to receive water
    • is not a water access right or a water delivery right.

    Irrigation infrastructure operator

    An entity that operates water service infrastructure for the purposes of delivering water for the primary purpose of it being used for irrigation.

    ML/ Megalitre

    A metric unit of capacity equal to one million litres.

    Ordinarily resident

    Means:

    An individual who is not an Australian citizen is ordinarily resident in Australia at a particular time if and only if:

    • the individual has actually been in Australia during 200 or more days in the period of 12 months immediately preceding that time, and
    • at that time, the individual is in Australia and the individual’s continued presence in Australia is not subject to any limitation as to time imposed by law, or
    • the individual is not in Australia but, immediately before the individual’s most recent departure from Australia, the individual’s continued presence in Australia was not subject to any limitation as to time imposed by law.

    Without limiting paragraph (1)(b), an individual’s continued presence in Australia is subject to a limitation as to time imposed by law if the individual is an unlawful non-citizen within the meaning of the Migration Act 1958.

    See also:

    Registrable water entitlement

     A ‘registrable water entitlement’ of a person is any of the following rights that the person holds (alone or jointly):

    • an irrigation right (within the meaning of the Water Act 2007) that relates to a water resource in Australia
    • a right (including an Australian water access entitlement) conferred by or under a law of a state or territory to do either or both of the following:
      • to hold water from a water resource in Australia
      • to take water from a water resource in Australia.
       

    See also:

    Riparian rights

    The right of the owner of the land, through whose property a natural water resource runs, to use water from the resource for use on the land, such as for drinking water or irrigation.

    Stocktake period

    The period between 1 July 2017 and 30 November 2017 is a ‘stocktake period’ and its intention is to collect information on the registrable water entitlements and contractual water rights held by foreign persons as at 30 November 2017. This information will form the basis of reports on the foreign ownership of water access entitlements in the future.

    Take

    Take water from a water resource means to remove water from, or to reduce the flow of water in or into, the water resource including by any of the following means:

    • pumping or siphoning water from the water resource
    • stopping, impeding or diverting the flow of water in or into the water resource
    • releasing water from the water resource if the water resource is a wetland or lake
    • permitting water to flow from the water resource if the water resource is a well or watercourse

    and includes storing water as part of, or in a way that is ancillary to, any of the processes or activities referred to in the dot points above.

    Water access entitlement

    A perpetual or ongoing entitlement, by or under a law of a state or territory, to exclusive access to a share of water resources of an area in the state or territory.

    Water access licence

    A type of water access entitlement (see ‘Water access entitlement’ above).

    Water access right

    Means any right conferred by or under a law of a state to do either or both of the following:

    • hold water from a water resource
    • take water from a water resource.

    And without limiting paragraphExternal Link (a), includes the following rights of the kind referred to in that paragraphExternal Link:

    • stock and domestic rights
    • riparian rights
    • a water access entitlement
    • a water allocation.

    It includes any other right in relation to the taking or use of water that is prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraphExternal Link.

    Water allocation

    Means the specific volume of water allocated to water access entitlements in a given water accounting period.

    Water delivery right

    A right to have water delivered by an infrastructure operator.

    Water lease

    A transaction to transfer a water rightExternal Link from one legal entity to another, in whole or in part, for a specified period of time which involves an exchange of a monetary value.

    Water resource plan

    A plan for the management of a water resource.

    Water resource plan area

    Water resource area defined in a water resource plan.

    Last modified: 24 Jul 2017QC 52964