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Register of Foreign-owned Water Entitlements

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Submissions received for Register of Foreign-owned Water Entitlements inquiry.

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Comment received after the draft report and for which the submitter gave approval for its publication.

1

As a third generation landowner of a large pastoral holding in Australia, our family has successfully maneuvered through the ongoing plight most pastoralists’ face, being the management of water resources! Our son is the current custodian of the property and carries forward accumulated knowledge acquired over 98 years which, includes managing ‘water’.

Over the years we, together with many landowners, realized there was a growing practice of questionable policies being quietly introduced around the subject of water. This occurred without landholder consultation and favoured what appeared to be institutional and foreign interests.

These covert policies were introduced without any proper disclosure or transparency of process. By way of example, properties which had licenses for large water allocations, appeared to be targeted by foreign owned entities. Water in prime water catchment areas was thus purchased and effectively monopolized which created an environment of inequity and enabled indiscriminate opportunity for ongoing manipulation by policy makers.

In essence our precious water resources were sold, to satisfy interests we could not see. Without transparency or access to accurate and up to date information around such critical matters we (landholders – and our communities) cannot possibly understand the full picture.

As a result we are thereby less able to adequately respond to consequences of water policies, rules, regulations and other associated decisions, made by unelected bureaucrats who appear to be acting for interests outside our Country. We acknowledge some attempt was made by our local Pastoralist Association to bring awareness to our concerns. Unfortunately, these calls were not heard and in effect the process of water resources being sold to overseas interests continued, without any real oversight at all.

Ongoing efforts were made to seek a more transparent process, such as full disclosure via a property managed “Register of Foreign Ownership” which carefully and accurately recorded foreign acquisition of Water & Land in Australia. To this end this process was never completed in its fullness. As a result of the subsequent lack of proper due process and the absence of transparency and oversight we have upon us a dire situation whereby our water resources are now literally held to random by unknown entities who are flying under the radar of Public awareness.

Control of our water resources is clearly NOT being facilitated for the good of the river system and arid areas of Australia or its peoples at this time. It appears fair to conclude, the lack of proper transparency in the management of this precious resource has been unscrupulously re-allocated to fill the hip pockets of a few individuals in Canberra and Abroad and also for political gain.

Without proper reporting mechanisms, transparency and OVERSIGHT, we remain in the dark and simply conclude there is an obvious absence of virtue to which we shake our heads in disgust.

- 7/10/2021