Littleproud asks ACCC to investigate water price inflation allegations

By Rodney Woods

Federal Water Minister David Littleproud has written to the ACCC asking them to investigate allegations that water traders and brokers in the Murray-Darling Basin water market are inflating prices.

“Horticultural groups have written to me concerned some water holders are inflating prices, which hurts farmers and basin communities," Mr Littleproud said.

“I take these allegations very seriously.

“I have written to the ACCC and asked it to investigate the allegations brought to me by the Almond Board and other peak grower groups as soon as possible."

Victorian Shadow Water Minister Steph Ryan said urgent action is needed from state and federal governments to create a single, transparent trading platform in the southern basin.

"Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville has said there’s 'no real evidence' that competition from speculators and traders is pushing up water prices, but in 2017/18, 21 per cent of Victorian allocation was purchased by accounts not linked to land or irrigation, compared with five per cent in 2014/15," she said.

"The Andrews Labor Government must take greater action to place stronger obligations on water traders to ensure transactions are conducted fairly and with transparency."