Since August 2019 the ACCC has inquired into markets for tradeable water rights in the Murray–Darling Basin. The 700+ pages of the ACCC's final report, released on 26 March 2021, is the most comprehensive review by an Australian Government on water market reform since the National Water Initiative in 2004.
The report highlights 29 recommendations to the Treasurer of the Australian Government that are considered by the ACCC as important to improve the operation of the Australian Water Market. At a high level, 27 of those recommendations are Governance or Government improvement related, and only 2 are water market service provider related (2 & 3).
Waterfind CEO and Founder, Tom Rooney, outlines four key observations from the report in his own reflections:
- the inquiry is not in itself ‘reform’ but a recommendation of reform.
- the report recognises the value of Australian Water Markets to the water / irrigation sector as well as the broader Australian Economy.
- the report does not recommend the removal of involvement from speculators / investors in the Australian Water Market and instead, supports their involvement and importance.
- that the structure and design of recommendations regarding water market regulation creates a strong environment for potential inaction from Federal and State Governments to adopt the ACCC recommendations.
We invite you to read my reflections on the ACCC final report, as well as Waterfind’s submission to the inquiry and our submissions analysis