Calls for a transparent water market

By Country News

State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed says irrigators need a transparent water market to level the playing field.

The Victorian Government is currently looking at reforms to water market transparency, to strengthen public confidence in the market.

“Water entitlements are a property right, no different to land ownership,” Ms Sheed said.

“So, it should be just as easy to find out who owns what, where and how much, and the trading history.”

Ms Sheed said water entitlements were not tied to land, and claims that activists would use water ownership information to interfere with farms were overblown.

She also said concerns about brokers abusing transparency to target vulnerable irrigators were valid, and that any such behaviour should be reported and punished.

“We need total transparency on entitlement and allocation accounts.

“It’s the only way to get the market working for everyone, and not just the big end of town; lack of transparency on ownership and transactions just makes it worse.”

Ms Sheed said there was minimal regulation on the behaviour of water brokers and urged the Victorian Government to look past fears about water owners’ and users’ privacy.

The water market transparency survey is open for community feedback to ensure a balance between transparency and privacy is met.

The survey asks water users and irrigators what details they are comfortable sharing with the public, and will close on Tuesday, June 30.

A report detailing the survey responses will be published in July, including final recommendations and a timeline for implementation.

To participate in the survey, visit: https://engage.vic.gov.au/water-market-transparency