Jerilderie irrigator attended Shepparton meeting in support of water market

By Rodney Woods

While most of the vocal irrigators wanted major change to the water market, one farmer stuck his neck out and went against the grain.

Jerilderie sheep and rice farmer Denis Tinkler said he attended the Shepparton forum of the ACCC's inquiry into the operation of the water market to support the market and didn't see the need for major change as many others had called for at the meeting.

“Everyone has minor and major concerns, the ones with major concerns are (in) the few,” Mr Tinkler said.

“I see a need for some minor adjustments.

“A market is a part of our property right. It's what puts value into our entitlements and it's what makes the system work.”

Mr Tinkler said the major issue with the water market was supply.

“As I said at the meeting it's all about supply.

“Price and demand are other factors, demand goes up and down.

“As a rice grower, I'm out of the market at $200/Ml.

“Supply is the big variable.”

Mr Tinkler said the ACCC's main priority should be to look at how farmers upstream are being treated.

“One of the things highlighted that I thought was important, and many others do as well, is that 1 Ml in Cobram is 1 Ml in Renmark.

“There are losses in delivering that water downstream and irrigators upstream are carrying those (losses).

“That's one of the more important, if not the most important, things the ACCC must address.”

While many at the meeting thought transparency was needed, Mr Tinkler was not so sure.

“Transparency gets tied up with privacy and I do not think it's as big an issue as some think it is,” he said.

“I operate in southern NSW and the Murray Irrigation Water Exchange is quite transparent (already).”

When asked what changes he would rather see, Mr Tinkler said technical components needed to be dealt with.

“I don't actually know — it's technical issues beyond my abilities."