Opinion

Total transparency needed in water market

By Country News

By Ross Wells, Jerilderie

Congratulations to the ABC’s 7.30 episode on May 6.

The interview with (Murray-Darling Basin interim inspector-general) Mick Keelty about foreign investment in water was very interesting.

The Land report had seemed to imply that he had been asked to ‘find’ more water but none of us ever believed that some ‘new water’ would be found.

The main thrust of his interview was about the need for transparency where water is concerned, especially with regard to the lack of scrutiny of foreign investment and the consequences of investors with no interests in farming.

We want total transparency. I believe investors and the environment should be brought into line with the general security water holders.

This would be a lenient approach for investors when compared to more draconian actions being called for by some.

As for the environment, most of the water purchased would have been general security or ‘ghost’ water. What the heck!

Where is all that water being held? It was purchased from all over the place.

I can't comment on the northern basin but, having been regulated here since the early 1970s, I suspect that more oversight is urgently needed.

I don't understand floodplain harvesting but here on the Murrumbidgee catchment area, some 20-odd years ago, it was legislated that dams could only be built if they were less than a certain size to allow more water to flow west, which seemed fair.

Has that rule changed? What happened? Transparency has to begin with real-time water market data being available for everyone to see.

I am urging all unfairly treated general security water holders in NSW to stand up and demand that investors in water without irrigable land be treated the same as us.

I hope this letter might create some desire to take action because I am sure that many politicians know that whole communities are being devastated but do nothing.

Calls from Mick Keelty and Tony Maher, from the NFF, for more transparency will go unheeded if our politicians are allowed to continue sitting on their hands and keep on doing nothing.

They lack the guts to fight for battling farmers and small town communities.