Shepparton News

Reforms add transparen­cy

- By Darren Linton

The names of the largest water owners will be published under reforms designed to increase transparen­cy and compliance in the water market.

The Victorian Government has put the Water and Catchment Legislatio­n Amendment Bill 2021 before Parliament.

Water Minister Lisa Neville said the legislatio­n would help ensure irrigation water was being used fairly and in line with the rules and also delivered on calls from irrigators for greater transparen­cy on water ownership and trading including allowing the names of the largest water owners to be published on the Victorian water register.

“After extensive consultati­on, we are delivering improved transparen­cy in our water markets to support Victorian irrigators and improve confidence in the market,” Ms Neville said.

“This legislatio­n will further strengthen compliance in line with our zero-tolerance policy for water theft.”

The bill strengthen­s deterrents to water theft including allowing water to be deducted from those who use more than their allocation and placing more onus on directors of corporatio­ns who use water to follow the rules.

The legislatio­n will also put in place a better framework for managing the increasing challenges of delivering water in the Murray River to irrigators and the environmen­t.

Ms Neville said while demand for water was increasing, constraint­s, including the reduced capacity of the Barmah Choke, the impacts of climate change and changes to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan had increased the risk of delivery shortfall.

The legislatio­n will allow for the introducti­on of a cap-and-trade system for any new water extraction share for river diverters within declared areas to protect the entitlemen­ts of existing users.

In the case of a shortfall, it will allow for limits on daily water take to ensure entitlemen­t holders get a fair share of available water.

The changes are part of the Victorian Government’s effort to protect the environmen­t and water entitlemen­t holders from negative impacts from increasing water extraction­s in the lower Murray region, as well as ensuring users can have confidence in water markets.

 ??  ?? Move toward fairness: Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville has introduced reforms in response to irrigators’ calls for greater transparen­cy in the water market.
Move toward fairness: Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville has introduced reforms in response to irrigators’ calls for greater transparen­cy in the water market.

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