An MDBA and Deloitte report on water trade price reporting in the Murray Darling confirms concerns that the National Irrigators’ Council (NIC) has been expressing for some time about lack of transparency, confusion and inconsistency in State water trading registers.

NIC CEO, Steve Whan says “this report shows that the water market has run way ahead of the antiquated systems put in place to register and keep track of trades.  It re-affirms the need for action and the importance of further inquiries by the ACCC.

“State based water registers have failed to keep up with the needs of the market and irrigators.

“It’s like we are using a model T in a grand prix.

“These reports show that there are huge gaps in information being registered on trades and, importantly, in quality control.

“Deloitte’s assessment had findings including that ‘43% of trades sampled were unable to be supported with sufficient appropriate audit evidence to support prices processed …’

“Their assessment went on to highlight the massive complexity saying ‘there are 47 individual public water registers across 4 Basin States (excluding ACT), each with varying levels of disclosed detail and consistency. 33% of total volume traded in the 12 months to 30 June 2018 is disclosed in public registers without price.’

“Within those registers are a multitude of different water products from different regions. 

“NIC has called out the confusing and complex system a number of times we do need to work to a much simpler, more transparent, consistent system, that can help everyone to get a better understanding of exactly what is happening in the water market.

“This report is an important contribution which should prompt real action from Ministers and it is an important start on the next steps to be taken as part of the Government’s promised ACCC review of the water market.  Reform needs to keep in mind simplification not increased burden and needs to be undertaken in close consultation with irrigators.”

Media Contact:  Steve Whan 0429 780 883
Friday 31 May 2019