The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has commenced an inquiry into water markets in the Murray-Darling Basin.
Public forums will be held in Mildura on the 8th of November and Kerang on the 12th of November.
Member for Mallee, Anne Webster encourages interested parties and stakeholders including irrigators and other participants in the water market who have a direct interest in the use and trade of water in the Basin to attend these public forums to ensure their views are heard by the ACCC
“Water is the life source of our farming communities, and we need to ensure water trading within the basin is within the spirit of what was initially intended.” Dr Webster said.
“Current water prices are unsustainable for our irrigators and having a huge impact on their business. This inquiry will investigate whether traders, brokers or any major market players are artificially driving up prices, and thereby hurting family farmers.”
“There are a number of cumulative issues that are linked to current rising prices, some of which are a direct result of the drought, while others may be related to trading practices. But the ACCC inquiry will provide transparency and much needed confidence to our farming businesses to engage in an equitable water market.” said Dr Webster.
The inquiry is looking at 5 key areas in depth;
- The factors driving changes in water markets and water prices,
- How market participants (including irrigators, investors, water brokers, water exchanges, water registries and others) use market information; and whether water markets are sufficiently transparent,
- How market regulation, regulatory agencies and policy differences between states and trading zones have affected water markets,
- How the practices and behaviours of different market participants and interested parties impact water markets, and
- The extent to which the objectives of water markets have been achieved, and how overall market competition and efficiency have changed over time
“Minister Littleproud has asked the ACCC to use its prosecution powers if it finds evidence that Commonwealth Law has been breached. They will not wait until the end of the inquiry to action these alleged breaches, but will open investigations into those issues immediately.”
“I encourage anyone with concerns about the water market to attend either of the public forums or write a submission to https://www.accc.gov.au/focus-areas/inquiries-ongoing/murray-darling-basin-water-markets-inquiry.
Details of the public forums are:
- Mildura at the Benetook Room, Alfred Deakin Centre, 190 Deakin Avenue at 11.30 am, Thursday 7 November, and
- Kerang at the Kerang Senior Citizens Community Meeting Room, 169 Boundary Street at 6 pm, Tuesday 12 November