Government Must Respond on Water Entitlement Speculation

13 June 2019

News that international companies speculating on water entitlements are driving up prices for farmers battling drought raise serious questions about whether the water entitlement system is serving the public interest.

A report on the Nine Network last night revealed that international speculators with no actual agricultural businesses were buying up water entitlements and selling them at inflated prices to battling farmers struggling with drought. 

The Morrison Liberal National Government need to explain themselves to Australians: why do they believe the current arrangements are fair?

Australians have a right to expect their government looks after Australian farmers. 

The water market was established to allow farmers to trade their entitlement so that water would go to its most efficient use. This would also allow environmental water to be purchased from willing sellers. There was never a policy objective for speculators to trade on scarcity and exploit drought.

Australians want an economy that works for them, not the other way around. But under this Liberal National Government, it seems the economy is not working for farmers who are competing against multinational investment firms for water entitlements.

If they're not willing to defend the current arrangements, David Littleproud and the Government need to tell Australians what changes they propose to make, and when.

This government has a terrible track record when it comes to maintaining public confidence in relation to water management.

These latest revelations come after Australians have been rightly questioning the government’s lack of accountability and transparency in relation to water purchases during Barnaby Joyce’s time as Minister, involving a firm with links to Angus Taylor.