Australian Water Brokers Association Media Release

MEDIA RELEASE

AWBA response to Almond Board of Australia’s

allegations of price fixing

10 September 2019

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The Australian Water Brokers Association (AWBA) is deeply concerned with allegations made in yesterday’s press release from the Almond Board of Australia which can be found here.

 

We implore the Almond Board of Australia to provide any evidence of unconscionable conduct by Water Brokers immediately to the AWBA and the ACCC along with other relevant authorities.  The AWBA undertakes to thoroughly investigate any member who has breached its code of conduct and take action.  To date, the AWBA have received no correspondence or contact from the Almond Board in relation to their concerns.

 

The AWBA was established in 2007 as a representative body for water brokers.  Members of the AWBA include companies and individuals who have been at the forefront of the emerging water trading market within Australia.  Our members have been responsible for pioneering water trading / broking services to rural customers Australia wide, from as far back as 1991.

 

Not all Water Brokers are equal.  AWBA members are peer reviewed, operate under a Code of Conduct, must have adequate Professional Indemnity insurance, operate an audited ‘trust account’ for client funds and participate in a program of continuous education.  Our members are committed to assisting irrigators with their water management decisions and share their concerns that the current drought conditions present.  A list of AWBA members can be found here.

 

With regard to the current temporary allocation price the AWBA would like to highlight the following facts:

 

Fact 1 – Supply in the market is low because of the ongoing drought.  As all irrigators are aware, MDBA active storage is down to 47% and allocations granted to most entitlements are currently restricted, 30% less in total than the same time last year.

 

Fact 2 – Demand for allocation in the Murray is much higher than in the past, primarily due to the massive expansion of almonds over recent years, in particular, below the Barmah Choke.  Much of this new greenfield development has been done by “corporates”, many of whom own little if any permanent water entitlement.   This has created additional demand on the temporary allocation market, that is increasing year on year.

Since the Millennium Drought there has been significant structural change in the water market, not the least of which has been the afore-mentioned expansion of almonds and other horticulture.  Environmental water holders, both state and federal now account for approximately 29% of entitlement in the Southern Murray Darling Basin.   These two factors alone have had a material effect on reducing the elasticity of temporary water markets.  We are seeing the results of this today.

 

The Almond Board itself astutely points out in this article that water market has a “finite supply and increasing demand”, an equation that invariably leads to higher pricing – in any market.

 

The AWBA have long been calling for improved market transparency and we continue to work closely with the state water registers to improve reporting and provide further clarity for all water market participants.  The AWBA welcome the ACCC’s investigation into water markets and will continue to engage with them along with other State and Federal departments to assist with their enquiries.

 

The AWBA is proud of the service our members provide irrigation communities, and we will continue to strive to improve confidence in Australia’s world leading water markets.

 

–ENDS–

Media Enquiries

AWBA President – Ben Williams

president@awba.org.au   0497 812 054

 

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Self-Regulation leads discussions at Swan Hill General Meeting

The latest General Meeting of the Australian Water Brokers Association was held at the Murray Downs Country Club & Resort conference room in Murray Downs / Swan Hill on the 4th June 2018. The meeting was well attended, with more than 20 members / affiliate members and 6 guests in attendance.

The Hon Ian Hunter South Australian Minister for Water and the River Murray heads a packed speaker list

The latest General Meeting of the Australian Water Brokers Association was held at the Adina Apartments conference rooms in Adelaide on 26 February 2018. The meeting was well attended, with more than 20 members and 15 guests attending. Speakers included:

  • Hon Ian Hunter – SA Minister for Water and the River Murray
  • Will Rayner – Rural Bank CFO
  • Darren Ray – Bureau of Meteorology
  • Chris Olszak – Aither
  • Darryl Day – ICE-WaRM
  • Yvette Colton – SA Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
  • Simo Tervonen & Rod Carr – Marsden Jacobs

Ian Hunter was the first speaker of the day outlining South Australia’s position on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan given the recent dis-allowance motion passed in the Senate.

Rural Bank CFO Will Rayner gave a positive presentation about the strengths and long term investment prospects of the agriculture sector. He also touched on the challenges of financial institutions assessing security of water products outside of entitlement ownership and leasing.

Marsden Jacobs provided an update on the progress of waterflow.io which is being developed with $1M of Federal Government funding through the Business Research and Innovation Initiative (BRII) program.

Assistant Principal Policy Officer at South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources led a discussion on updates on SA water market initiatives and register reform, asking questions and gaining feedback directly from brokers.

As always, Chris Olszak challenged attendees to consider the reasons for the increasing interest in international investment in water assets.

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Annual General Meeting held for AWBA

The AWBA Annual General Meeting was held on the 27th November in Melbourne

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Foreign Ownership of Water Entitlements – do you need to register?

From 1 July 2017, the Australian Government is introducing a new water entitlements register to increase transparency around foreign investment in Australia.

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Post July 2017 General Meeting

Shepparton hosts largest AWBA meeting with special guest, The Hon. Barnaby Joyce, MP – Deputy Prime Minister of Australia

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AWBA July General Meeting

The next AWBA General Meeting will be held in Shepparton on Wednesday 26th July, 2017.

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ACCC 2015-16 Water Monitoring Report shows rural water sector adapting to change

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s seventh annual Water Monitoring Report, covering 2015-16, shows the effects of structural changes in the Murray-Darling Basin rural water sector on regulated charges and terminations, transformations, and trades.

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ATO Webinar: The Register of Foreign Ownership of Water

The ATO will be hosting a series of free webinars about foreign ownership of water access entitlements.

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Learn About Australias Water Markets

Produced by the Department of Agriculture for the 2017 Global Forum for Food and Agriculture, this video was shot on location throughout Australia and provides an overview of Australia’s Water Markets and how they encourage efficient water use.