As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads, so will the impacts on Australia’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors. Initially, the impact was due to slowing demand in China, however the subsequent global spread of the virus is now impacting on global markets, making the short-term outlook for Australian agriculture increasingly uncertain.
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ABARES release report on Impacts of COVID-19 on Australian agriculture, forestry and fisheries trade
Interim Inspector-General of Murray-Darling Basin Water Resources, Mick Keelty, releases report
In December 2019, the Interim Inspector-General of Murray-Darling Basin Water Resources, Mick Keelty, was asked by the Federal Government to conduct an inquiry into the impact of changing inflows to the southern Murray-Darling Basin and its effect on the water-sharing arrangements set out in the MDB Agreement.
Findings from the Inquiry have recently been released in the report, including less water, dry years more frequent and a dramatic drop in water inflows into the basin over the past 25 years.
You can read our summary or download the full report ‘Impact of lower inflows on state shares under the Murray–Darling Basin Agreement’
Victoria Government announces On-Farm Drought Resilience Grant Program 30 April 2020
The maximum amount available for the On-Farm Drought Resilience Grant Program will increase from $5,000 to $10,000. This means farmers can use up to $5,000 for farm business planning activities and $5,000 for drought infrastructure investments.
The program now also allows applications for new equipment such as mobile phone booster technologies to improve access to the internet and online drought services and items such as soil moisture probes.
Farmers in drought-affected areas also impacted by the bushfires will be able to reapply for the grant where their previously funded investment was destroyed or damaged.
For more details visit the Victoria Government website
Waterfind review ACCC Water Market Inquiry submissions
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commision (ACCC) released an issues paper on 17 October 2019 seeking views on the key issues affecting markets for tradeable water rights in the Murray-Darling Basin and anticipate a Draft Report will be available in late May/early June.
We have reviewed the 121 public submissions made to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Water Markets Inquiry to highlight common themes and keys issues raised by stakeholder type, level of support for or against reform and possible solutions suggested in the submissions.
Read our analysis of 121 submissions to the ACCC.
You can read our submisson provided to the ACCC .
Changes to SA Private Carryover announced 15 April
South Australia Private carryover rules have recently changed, following community consultation in March on the proposed changes .
Eligible water users will be allowed to ‘roll over’ unused water from one year to be used in the next water year in a sequence of dry years and when the minimum opening allocation, as announced in April, is 50 percent or less. Water users can carryover a total volume of 20 per cent of the value of their Class 3 (High Security) water access entitlements.
Proposed changes to the Goulburn to Murray trade rule
Victoria Government is proposing changes to the Goulburn to Murray trade rule, to ensure that water traded from the Goulburn to the Murray can be delivered without impacting on the environment or the reliability of other entitlements.
The current rule allows trade to the Murray when the balance of the Goulburn IVT account is less than 200 GL, however, Government has proposed three possible alternative trade rule options,
An annual cap
An annual cap would set a limit to the volume of water that can be traded out of the Goulburn system each year that is the same under all seasonal conditions. A key challenge of this option is defining the limit and the appropriate volume of trade.
A dynamic trade rule would be a two-part rule. The first part would work in a similar way to the current rule allowing trade within an IVT limit that can be drawn down as water is delivered early in the irrigation season. The second part would work in a similar way to the annual limit to set a cap on tradeable volumes for the rest of the year based on what can be delivered.
The seasonally-based rule would be a two-part rule based on seasonal flows in the lower Goulburn River. The first part would be the ability to use water from a tagged account form the Goulburn to Murray during spring, late autumn and winter when the delivery of traded water does not have negative impacts on the environment. The second part would work in a similar way to the annual limit to set a cap on tradeable volumes for the rest of the year based on what can be delivered.
A consultation paper has been prepared to explain how operational rules interact with rules on water trading, download full consultation paper.
Consultation is open for feedback into which trade rule option would be most supported.
Submit written feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the survey by 22 April 2020.
On the radio | Waterfind’s Chief Executive, Tom Rooney on ABC Victoria Country Hour
Tom Rooney, chats with ABC’s Nikolai Beilharz, providing insights into irrigation water costs plateauing, on @ABC Victoria Country Hour.
Interview starts at [1:05] and finishes at [8:57]