Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world. Now that its water rights are a hot sell amongst foreign investors, what are the implications on the area’s industries? Who will take control over this valuable resource?
For most countries, water isn’t a scarce resource. But, as the opposite is true in Australia, government laws aim to protect it, and there’s no shortage of law professionals, like Rapid Legal Solutions, who work with local farmers and industries to ensure the proper usage of water.
In Australia, water comes at a price. The permission to use a nearby river to water your crops or to feed cattle is a privilege many are after. At present, some foreign farm owners and investors are taking over the resource, through purchasing water rights.
High Demand for Water
There is a high demand for the scarce resource, and it rises faster than the realisation of the government’s plans to turn Australia’s northern region into a food bowl for the middle classes of China and India. Environmental issues like global warming is expected to contribute to the demand and the shortage of supply.
This makes water all the more valuable, especially to foreign investors. Before, land ownership was a requirement for having water rights. But, since 2007, even those who don’t have properties can access the resource.
As such, local farmers and stakeholders openly protest against the amount of assets sold offshore. To appease them, the government announced that it will start a register of foreign ownership of water rights. Treasurer Scott Morrison said the government plans to introduce the register and the laws by December 1.
What does this mean for Aussie stakeholders? They’re already expressing dismay over the shortage of water, and now they contend with the possibility of higher-priced goods. Through the introduction of the register, however, the government hopes to help land owners by curtailing any price increase.
Will Australia face a more severe resource scarcity, given the situation? Or will the register keep the water sources and control at bay? The waiting game begins.