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     5   Water rights

Ms Sharkie, pursuant to notice, moved—That this House:

(1)        notes that:

(a)        water is a scarce and highly valuable resource in Australia; and

(b)        Australia is prone to droughts and many parts of our country have recently experienced their worst droughts in living memory;

(2)        registers its concern that:

(a)        foreign entities, some implicitly backed by foreign governments, are substantially increasing their holdings of Australian water rights;

(b)        Australian agriculturalists are increasingly competing with these foreign entities to secure the water rights upon which their livelihoods depend; and

(c)        the acquisition of water rights is not directly subject to the approval of the Foreign Investment Review Board;

(3)        congratulates the Government on committing to reform the legislation governing the Foreign Investment Review Board; and

(4)        calls upon the Government to, in those reforms:

(a)        ensure that water rights are directly subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval, independent to the acquisition of agricultural land to which those rights sometimes attach; and

(b)        lower the threshold for Foreign Investment Review Board approval for agricultural and water rights to $5 million.

Debate ensued.

Debate adjourned and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for the next sitting.