9 October 2017
The Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land (the Agricultural Land Register) was established in 2015 under the Register of Foreign Ownership of Water or Agricultural Land Act 2015 (the Act) as part of the wider package of reforms to Australia's foreign investment regime. It was designed to help provide greater transparency about the level of foreign ownership of Australia’s agricultural land.
The Commissioner of Taxation reports annually to the Australian Treasurer on the operation of the Act and is required to publish aggregate statistics of foreign ownership each year. The Treasurer has recently released the second annual report on the Agricultural Land Register (Report), which includes information about registrations as at 30 June 2017. Key findings of the report are summarised in this briefing.
Since December 2016, the Act has included requirements on foreign persons to register interests in certain registrable and contractual water entitlements on a water rights register maintained by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The 30 November 2017 deadline for registration of those interests is fast approaching.