Source of truth aim

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS - By Rod­ney Woods

Elim­i­nat­ing ru­mour and in­nu­endo about trades in the water mar­ket is the aim of the Aus­tralian Com­pe­ti­tion and Con­sumer Com­mis­sion’s Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin water mar­kets in­quiry, ac­cord­ing to com­pe­ti­tion watch­dog deputy chair Mick Keogh.

Mr Keogh, who was speak­ing at the Mur­ray-Dar­ling As­so­ci­a­tion na­tional con­fer­ence, ex­plained what was on the com­mis­sion’s to-do list be­tween now and Fe­bru­ary 26 next year, when the fi­nal re­port is due.

‘‘We are in­volved in com­ple­tion of the data ag­gre­ga­tion, so our aim is to put to­gether a sin­gle source of truth in re­la­tion to trades that have oc­curred in the mar­ket since 2012,’’ Mr Keogh said.

‘‘In that way we can look in de­tail of the be­hav­iour of ma­jor traders and the ac­tiv­i­ties of in­ter­me­di­aries, in­clud­ing bro­kers and ir­ri­ga­tion in­fra­struc­ture or­gan­i­sa­tions, and rather than have a lot of ru­mour and in­nu­endo about what is ac­tu­ally hap­pen­ing in the mar­ket.

‘‘We hope to be able to have an ev­i­dence-based as­sess­ment on how those par­tic­u­lar in­di­vid­u­als have been be­hav­ing in the mar­ket and what, if any, change is needed.’’

Mr Keogh said more work was also be­ing done on the rec­om­mended re­forms set out in the in­terim re­port.

‘‘We’re ob­tain­ing feed­back from stake­hold­ers, there is also quite a deal of le­gal ad­vice be­ing ob­tained in re­la­tion to some of the gov­er­nance is­sues — be­cause of course that is quite a com­plex area and in­cludes con­sid­er­a­tion of things like the con­sti­tu­tion, and we are en­gaged with all lev­els of gov­ern­ment and agen­cies in re­la­tion to those re­forms and those dis­cus­sions are oc­cur­ring on a very reg­u­lar ba­sis,’’ he said.

As part of his pre­sen­ta­tion, Mr Keogh also went through the find­ings in the in­terim re­port, in­clud­ing that the lack of reg­u­la­tion of the water mar­kets has led to con­flicts of in­ter­est and left water trad­ing mar­kets open to price ma­nip­u­la­tion.

The multi-state gov­er­nance of the river sys­tem is caus­ing un­cer­tainty and con­fu­sion around man­age­ment and more trans­parency around trad­ing is needed, ac­cord­ing to the in­terim re­port.

Sub­mis­sions to the in­terim re­port close on Oc­to­ber 30.

■ For more in­for­ma­tion on the re­port or to make a sub­mis­sion, visit: accc.gov.au/fo­cus-ar­eas/in­quiries-on­go­ing/mur­raydar­ling-basin-water-mar­ketsin­quiry/in­terim-re­port

Work­ing hard . . . ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh spoke at the Mur­rayDar­ling As­so­ci­a­tion na­tional con­fer­ence.

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