Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed has called on Water Minister Lisa Neville from the floor of the Victorian Parliament to initiate a review into the rules surrounding carryover in the water market in Northern Victoria.
“Included in such a review should be an assessment of the current spill rules and recognition of the unaccounted 1000 gigalitres flowing to South Australia annually for the last nine years,” Ms Sheed said.
“Carryover was introduced into the Murray, Goulburn and Campaspe systems in 2007. It was initially limited to 30 per cent carryover, and indeed there remained a limit on trade out of the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District (GMID) at that time.
“A great deal has changed since the carryover rules were first introduced. The rollout of the Murray-Darling Basin plan and water trading policies are some of the fundamental changes that have occurred. Speculators have entered the market and there are many water traders who no longer own land, and the impact of this on the availability and price of water in the GMID cannot be overlooked.”
Unforeseen consequences of the implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan have led to damaging distortions in the water market, according to Ms Sheed.
“Among the many unforeseen impacts of policy changes since 2007 is the fact that there has been a resultant significant increase in the flows of water to South Australia amounting to approximately 1000 gigalitres per year since that time,” Ms Sheed said.
“The recent report from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority entitled Transition Period Water Take Report 2017–18 identifies that over the last nine years irrigators in the southern connected basin have used on average 1200 gigalitres less than the cap allows.”
Ms Sheed is calling on a review of carryover rules in light of the market distortions to achieve better outcomes for irrigators in the GMID.
“Governments must recognise the extra flows that are occurring on an annual basis to South Australia and that the basin plan has exceeded its original targets,” Ms Sheed said.
“The monumental fact arising out of this now tested and documented information from the Murray Darling Basin Authority is that there is simply no need now to recover the additional 450 gigalitres of water. Recognition of this water will also mean that any shortfall on sustainable diversion limit projects will be taken care of.
“The time has come to review the carryover rules and the impacts they are now having. As part of this, the spill rules need to be reviewed and changes made to ensure that carryover is tied to land.”
Myles Peterson 0467 035 840│firstname.lastname@example.org