Morrison government clueless about water transparency

29 November 2019

A disastrous lack of water transparency is paralysing farmers in the Murray Darling Basin, damaging our economy and crushing confidence, in the middle of one of the worst droughts on record. 
 
Reports from the Murray Darling Basin Authority appear to show that water license holders are underutilising water allocations, despite the savage drought.
 
Astonishingly, the Minister for Water issued a statement admitting the government was clueless about what was happening in the water market.
 
“We need to get under the bonnet of this to find out what is going on.” Minister David Littleproud said.
 
How can the Minister be lifting the bonnet on this issue only now, after the Morrison Government has been in power for more than six years?
 
If the Government doesn’t know what’s happening in the water market, who does?
 
Water speculators are using the lack of easily available information, to profit from trades, while farmers and communities suffer and water prices skyrocket.
 
Australia has numerous water exchanges; trades are not kept or managed centrally or transparently and questions loom over the use of water. 
 
Information asymmetry is a classic source of market failure. The lack of transparency in this market is failing farmers, communities and the nation.
 
Instead of ensuring transparency in the use of our nation’s water, this Government has demonstrated that it has no plan to restore confidence in water policy and management in Australia’s most important river system, in the middle of one of our worst droughts. 
 
After more than six years overseeing the Murray Darling Basin, this Government is still clueless about what is happening in the Basin and incapable of finding solutions to help communities that are hurting.
 
Australians support our farmers and regional communities and they don’t want to see a dog-eat-dog free market, where profiteering from our precious water resources is rampant, while people suffer from a devastating drought.
 
Labor is calling on the government to ensure transparency so that Australians know what is happening with our most precious resource.

THURSDAY, 29 NOVEMBER 2019