Communities will be watching with concern as to how much more water is removed from their towns in the latest Labor water buyback tender which opened today.
Shadow Water Minister, Perin Davey said the issue with buyback, which she described as the lazy water recovery option, is that while water owners are compensated, it is communities who would lose out.
“While this buyback is in select valleys, the issue with NSW Murray is we have a connected market in the southern Murray Darling Basin where water can be traded across State borders and buying water out of one valley impacts every community, especially in places like South Australia who have a very high percentage of permanent plantings and a heavy reliance on temporary trade,” Senator Davey said.
“It doesn’t matter whether the water is bought out of the NSW Murray or South Australia, it will drive up the price of water, especially in times of drought when permanent plantings like almonds and grapes drive prices beyond those which many agricultural industries like dairy can afford to pay.
“We know that the water bought back to date has resulted in an increased price of temporary or allocation water by around 25% across all seasonal scenarios.
“Further buybacks risk some industries and irrigation communities unviable, especially if Labor continue to use them beyond the current 46GL tender round,” she said.
Senator Davey said people thinking of participating in the buyback tender should be aware the tender documents released today make it clear successful tenderers would have their water right owner/s name/s, location of the water right, contract value and execution date reported publicly if over a certain financial limit.
“I welcome this additional layer of transparency which has not been applied previously,” Senator Davey said.