Changes flow for trader

By Geoff Adams

Pioneering water trading company, Waterpool, has changed its status from a co-operative to a not-for-profit and has plans to ramp up its educational role in the water industry.

The Kyabram-based company was started seven years ago by a group of farmers who wanted to establish an independent water trading company, after Goulburn-Murray Water closed down its trading platform.

The company has grown to employ eight people and now has more than 1450 members, turning over more than $300million in water since 2012.

Waterpool will retain its trading name and the governing board said its customers should not notice any major changes with the services it provides.

Chairman Peter Fitzgerald, a retired farmer and company director, said the company had been awarded tax-free status and as part of its new constitution, would be delivering more educational services to irrigators at group and individual levels.

‘‘As time has gone on, we have been very successful and built it into a large operation,’’ Mr Fitzgerald said.

‘‘We wanted to continue to see it grow and the best way we could see of doing that was going ahead with this change.

‘‘We spent nearly three years talking to the ATO about getting tax exemption. So we have set up a new entity, but with the same principles of transparency.’’

In addition, the new entity will be doing more educational and research work.

Mr Fitzgerald said membership of the new entity, Water Partners Australia, was free and open to anyone.

The arrangements were explained to members at a meeting in June.

The interim board comprises Peter Fitzgerald, Margot Henty, Peter Mulcahy, Paul Weller, and Stephen Hanlon.

The inaugural general meeting is expected to be held in October when the new board will be elected.

An additional independent director will be sought for the new board.