Stop Passing the Buck on Water Speculation

09 September 2019

Reports today that water speculation is driving water prices up and creating significant issues for farmers and communities in the Murray Darling Basin, require serious action from the Federal Government.

Farmers and the environment are being forced to compete with speculators and corporate water giants for much needed water.
After six years of inaction from the Government on the Murray Darling Basin, controversy and mismanagement is winning out over transparency, confidence and integrity.
If water barons are hoarding billions of litres of water it will ultimately inflate prices and further hurt farmers, communities and the environment.    

The buck stops with the Minister and the Government. Hiding behind the ACCC misses the important point: the question is not whether the market is sufficiently competitive, it is whether it is fair and designed to best suit the national interest.

Water is not just another commodity. It’s one of our most precious resources, and that requires a strong focus on what is in the national interest, including in the interests of the environment and the national economy.
There are clear issues of fairness, support for agriculture and communities, water scarcity and security, particularly during times of significantly less rainfall.

Fish kills, water speculation, a severe lack of scientific measurement across the Basin and controversy surrounding the government’s maladministration of its own farm water infrastructure program are resulting in plunging public confidence in the Coalition’s capacity to administer the Basin Plan.

These issues come after a water scandal about a water buyback worth $80 million from Eastern Australia Agriculture. EAA was linked to Morrison Government Minister Angus Taylor and was reportedly owned by a Caymans-based entity.
This Government needs to act to restore confidence in the Basin Plan.