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  • Water Register

    The Register of Foreign Ownership of Water Entitlements (Water Register) was established to provide greater transparency about the level of foreign ownership of Australia’s water entitlements.

    If you're a foreign person you may need to register your interests in certain water entitlements or contractual water rights on the Water Register by completing the Land and Water Registration Form unless an exemption applies.

    On this page:

    Who must register

    From 1 July 2017, foreign persons are required to register their interests in registerable water entitlements and contractual water rights on the Water Register by completing the Land and Water Registration Form.

    The definitions of registrable water entitlement, contractual water right, and foreign person in relation to irrigation infrastructure can be found on the Water register terms and definitions page.

    See also:

    When to register

    A foreign person or their agent may register at any time during the year (for example, when the event occurs). However, they must register no later than 30 days after the end of the financial year when the event occurred.

    As a foreign person you will need to register your interest in a registrable water entitlement or a contractual water right, when:

    • you acquire a registrable water entitlement or contractual water right
    • you became a foreign person while holding a registrable water entitlement or contractual water right.

    How to register

    To register you will need to complete the Land and Water Registration Form. There is no cost involved in registering.

    You will need to provide the following information:

    • ownership details, including nationality and percentage owned
    • water entitlement details, including type and entitlement number or identifier
    • water resource type
    • flow control (if applicable)
    • volume (megalitre)
    • sector and usage details.
    Land and water register and instructions

    If your situation changes

    You will need to update your existing registration by completing the Land and Water Registration Form when:

    • you dispose of the registrable water entitlement or contractual water right
    • you are no longer a foreign person
    • the volume of your registrable water entitlement or contractual water right changes.

    If you are unsure of when you're required to register, see the examples on the Water register terms and definitions page.

    Penalties and reporting breaches

    If you avoid your obligations to register or fail to keep your details up to date you may face administrative penalties under the Taxation Administration Act 1953. Application of the failure to lodge penalty is outlined in PS LA 2011/19 - Administration of the penalty for failure to lodge.

    If you have information about someone you think may be deliberately breaking our foreign investment rules, you can report it confidentially via the online form located on the Making a tip-off page.

    Statistics and reporting

    The Commissioner of Taxation reports annually to the Treasurer on the operation of the Register of Foreign Ownership of Water or Agricultural Land Act 2015 and is required to publish aggregate statistics of foreign ownership each year.

    The latest Register of Foreign Ownership of Water Entitlements – Report of Registrations is available on the FIRB publicationExternal Links page.

    The reported statistics include:

    • proportion of water entitlements held by foreign persons
    • foreign held water entitlement by state or territory
    • foreign held water entitlement by state or territory and resource
    • foreign held water entitlement by state or territory and type
    • how foreign held water entitlements are used.

    Contact us

    If you're unable to resolve an issue, you can phone or email us:

    If you require language assistance, contact the Translating and Interpreting Service:

    • 13 14 50 (within Australia)
    • +61 3 9268 8332 (from outside Australia).
    Last modified: 03 Sep 2020QC 52589