News

Options for water trading transparency

By Geoff Adams

The Victorian irrigators are being given three options on how to make water markets more transparent.

The Victorian government has released an options paper offering three variations in changes:  full market transparency, publishing only big traders tails or improving real-time information on price and volumes available.

Minister for Water Lisa Neville announced in May that the Andrews Labor Government would look at the options and benefits of a completely transparent water trading system.

This follows continued high water prices and concern from the community about the level of foreign ownership when it comes to Victorian water.

While a transparent market will not bring down water prices, it will provide confidence that the water markets are “We need to balance greater transparency with an appropriate level of protection for irrigators’ commercial privacy – which is why we have come up with a range of proposals for the community to consider.”working for irrigators and not being distorted,'' Ms Neville said today (Thursday).

The options paper shows better access to clear and easily understood information improves market function. It also considers what full market transparency means for water markets and commercial privacy.

The proposed options address the main concerns raised in targeted community consultation and could be introduced individually, or as a combination.

The options are:
• full market transparency – including names, addresses and trade details
• publish information only on large water market participants or high-volume traders
• improve real-time information on price and amount of water available.

State-wide consultation on the options paper will run until 8 November 2019 to get feedback on the proposed reforms, with the Minister to decide on a way forward by the end of the year.

The review complements the current inquiry into water markets by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which is exploring options to improve the operations, transparency, regulation, competitiveness and efficiency of Murray Darling Basin water markets.

Visit engage.vic.gov.au to provide feedback on the options paper.