I take allegations of unconscionable conduct in the water market very seriously. The integrity of the Murray-Darling Basin water market is paramount, as is irrigator’s confidence in it.

The basin water market underpins regional economies within the basin. Unless the market can operate the way it fundamentally should, I fear the very lifeblood of communities along the river will become unviable. These allegations need to be properly investigated, and the Government must act to correct any unfair practices driving up the price of water, should they be identified.

While the terms of reference to the ACCC inquiry into Murray Darling Basin Water Markets covers these matters, the Commission is not required to hand down its final report and recommendations to Government until the end of 2020. Growers need these matters investigated and resolved quickly and accordingly I’m pleased that Minister Littleproud has written to the ACCC asking that these serious allegations be investigated as soon as possible.

Meanwhile I believe the suggestions set out in the correspondence sent by horticultural industries to the Minister are worthy of close consideration.

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