7127.0 - Agricultural Land and Water Ownership, 2015-16 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/09/2017   
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Final estimates from the Agricultural Land and Water Ownership Survey (ALWOS) – 30 June 2016 will be presented in Agricultural Land and Water Ownership, 2016 (cat. no. 7127.0).

The purpose of the ALWOS is to collect information on the level of foreign ownership of agricultural businesses, land and/or water entitlements used for agricultural activity to inform government policy in this area.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) administered Register of Foreign Owned Agricultural Land was established in July 2015 and collects details about domestic and agricultural land holdings that are foreign owned. The ATO has also established a Water Register in July 2016 which requires foreign persons to register interests in water entitlements and contractual water rights.


This is the third ALWOS conducted by the ABS. Results will be available in September 2017.

The first ALWOS was conducted in 2010 (as at December 2010), with results released in September 2011 and the second was conducted in 2013 (as at June 2013), with results released in June 2014.


Data from the 2016 ALWOS have been extensively quality assured and are based on a response rate of 83%. The ALWOS estimates have been confronted (compared) against other relevant sources, including the 2010 and 2013 ALWOS, the 2015-16 Agricultural Census outputs, the Agricultural Land Register administered by the ATO, and through contact with data providers, to ensure the accuracy of the estimates produced. Extensive checking of respondent data was undertaken to ensure that data was consistent at all levels.

All estimates in this publication are subject to sampling error. For more information about these errors, refer to the Explanatory Notes within this release.


The 2016 ALWOS used standard definitions, classifications (including scope) and concepts as those used in the previous 2010 and 2013 ALWOS to ensure coherence. However, estimates of the total number of businesses with agricultural holdings and total area of agricultural land from the 2016 ALWOS are not fully comparable with estimates from the 2015-16 Agricultural Census outputs due to differences in scope and concepts used in the collections.

The scope cut-off for the 2015-16 Agricultural Census was all agricultural businesses with an Estimated Value of Agricultural Operations (EVAO) of $40,000 or greater. This is a change from previous ABS Rural Environment and Agricultural Collections, where a scope of EVAO of $5,000 or greater was used. The 2016 ALWOS continues to use a scope cut-off of $5,000 EVAO or greater to ensure coherence to previous ALWOS outputs.

The statistical unit underpinning the two collections also differs slightly. While both collect information about agricultural businesses, ALWOS collects information for businesses at the Australian Business Number (ABN) unit level. Agricultural Census also collects information for businesses at the ABN level, however these are split into smaller units at unique geographies to support finer level geographic outputs.


Detailed explanatory notes are provided to assist users in understanding the concepts underlying the data and how to interpret the quality and accuracy of the ALWOS data.


Data on Agricultural Land and Water Ownership, 2016 (cat. no. 7127.0) is available on the ABS website. Tables contained in this publication are available in spreadsheet format in the downloads tab.

If the information you require is not available as a standard product or service, the ABS Consultancy Services can assist with customised services to suit your requirements. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.