The Australian Conservatives South Australian Senate candidate Rikki Lambert has been commenting of late about the way the water market is as murky as the Murray water itself, lacking transparency to identify the water barons, speculators and foreign investors.
The Herald Sun reports, water prices in Victoria have skyrocketed to about $600 a megalitre – up from just $200 last year.
Farmers blame an influx of cashed-up investors for driving up the price and forcing them off the land.
But privacy rules prevent them knowing who is buying water rights, even though there is a state register.
Rikki is calling for the transparency of the water market to be included in the terms of reference of the federal Royal Commission on the Murray Darling Basin Plan that seems to have SA senator crossbench support.
Minister Littleproud in a lightning visit with the Barker candidate for the Nationals said he would refer these concerns to the ACCC.
He acknowledged in The Advertiser’s (business section) that 12% of water licences in the MUrray-Darling Basin are held by entities that own no land.
That is, no clear evidence of an association with food, fibre or fodder production.
That’s lent weight to the fears speculators are profiteering out of farmers’ misery during drought.
Rikki will be in the Riverland on Monday night hosting a public meeting in Berri on this and other topics of local concern in the federal election.
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