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Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land Bill 2015

Part 1 Preliminary

   

1   Short title

                   This Act may be cited as the Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land Act 2015 .

2   Commencement

             (1)  Each provision of this Act specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

 

Commencement information

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Provisions

Commencement

Date/Details

1.  The whole of this Act

At the same time as Schedule 1 to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Legislation Amendment Act 2015 commences.

 

Note:          This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally enacted. It will not be amended to deal with any later amendments of this Act.

             (2)  Any information in column 3 of the table is not part of this Act. Information may be inserted in this column, or information in it may be edited, in any published version of this Act.

3   Simplified outline of this Act

The Commissioner must keep a Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land, containing:

       (a)     information the Commissioner obtains about foreign persons’ holdings of agricultural land; and

      (b)     published statistics derived from that information.

After the commencement of this Act, foreign persons must give notice to the Commissioner of:

       (a)     their holdings of agricultural land as at the start of 1 July 2015; and

      (b)     later events causing agricultural land to start or cease to be held by foreign persons.

The Commissioner must regularly give the Minister a report, including statistics from the Register, for presentation to the Parliament.

The provisions in Schedule 1 to the Taxation Administration Act 1953 about confidentiality of information control what can be done with information in the Register (apart from the published statistics).

4   Definitions

                   In this Act:

agricultural land means land in Australia that is used, or that could reasonably be used, for a primary production business.

Note:          The rules may provide that land is not agricultural land (see section 5).

Australia , when used in a geographical sense, includes the external Territories.

cease to hold a freehold interest in, or right to occupy, agricultural land has a meaning affected by section 6.

Commissioner means the Commissioner of Taxation.

foreign person has the same meaning as in the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 .

freehold interest of a person in land means a legal interest in an estate in fee simple in the land that the person holds (alone, as a tenant in common or as a joint tenant).

land includes a building or a part of a building.

lease includes a sublease.

primary production business has the same meaning as in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 .

Register means the Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land kept under section 13.

registration trigger time : the registration trigger time in relation to a right held by a person to occupy land under a lease or licence is the latest of the following times:

                     (a)  the time the person started to hold the right;

                     (b)  the time the person became a foreign person;

                     (c)  the time the land became agricultural land;

                     (d)  the start of 1 July 2015.

rules means rules made under section 35.

start to hold a freehold interest in, or right to occupy, land has a meaning affected by section 6.

5   Rules may specify that land is not agricultural land

             (1)  The rules may provide that land of a specified kind is not agricultural land for the purposes of this Act.

             (2)  Those rules have effect despite the definition of agricultural land in section 4.

6   Starting and ceasing to hold freehold interests in, and rights to occupy, land

Starting

             (1)  A person starts to hold a freehold interest in, or right to occupy, land even if:

                     (a)  the person starts to hold the interest or right jointly with one or more other persons; or

                     (b)  the person already holds or has previously held such an interest or right in other land.

Ceasing

             (2)  A person ceases to hold a freehold interest in, or right to occupy, agricultural land even if the person continues to hold another such interest or right in other agricultural land.

This section is not limiting

             (3)  This section does not limit when a person starts or ceases to hold a freehold interest in, or right to occupy, land.

7   Extension to external Territories

                   This Act extends to every external Territory.

8   Extraterritoriality

                   This Act applies both within and outside Australia.

9   This Act binds the Crown

             (1)  This Act binds the Crown in each of its capacities.

             (2)  This Act does not make the Crown liable to a pecuniary penalty or to be prosecuted for an offence.

10   Concurrent operation of State and Territory laws

                   This Act is not intended to exclude or limit the operation of a law of a State or Territory to the extent that that law is capable of operating concurrently with this Act.

11   Severability

             (1)  Without limiting its effect apart from each of the following subsections of this section, this Act also has effect as provided by that subsection.

             (2)  This Act also has the effect it would have if each reference to a foreign person were expressly confined to an individual who is outside Australia.

             (3)  This Act also has the effect it would have if each reference to a foreign person were expressly confined to an alien (within the meaning of paragraph 51(xix) of the Constitution).

             (4)  This Act also has the effect it would have if each reference to a foreign person were expressly confined to a corporation that:

                     (a)  is described in paragraph (b) or (c) of the definition of foreign person in section 4 of the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 ; and

                     (b)  is a foreign corporation, or a trading or financial corporation, to which paragraph 51(xx) of the Constitution applies.

             (5)  This Act also has the effect it would have if each reference to a foreign person were expressly confined to a trustee who:

                     (a)  is a trustee of a trust described in paragraph (d) or (e) of the definition of foreign person in section 4 of the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 ; and

                     (b)  is:

                              (i)  an individual outside Australia; or

                             (ii)  an alien (within the meaning of paragraph 51(xix) of the Constitution); or

                            (iii)  a foreign corporation, or a trading or financial corporation, to which paragraph 51(xx) of the Constitution applies.

             (6)  This Act also has the effect it would have if each reference to land were expressly confined to land within a Territory.