The NSW Government is introducing new measures to crack down on anti-competitive behaviour and expose speculation in the water market, to address concerns raised by regional communities.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the NSW Government would begin public consultation in November to determine what improvements should be made to our existing water registers.

“Water Transparency is currently front of mind in our communities and we have created multiple platforms to improve it in NSW,” Mrs Pavey said.  

“We need to ensure that the details captured on our water register are strong enough to ensure transparency, but don’t go too far by putting farmer’s details at risk.

“The ACCC report highlighted the potential dangers to farmers of having too much information on the register and indicated a number of unintended negative consequences of such an approach.

“That said there is a strong community expectation that for big corporate irrigators and speculators our registers should be improved to show their true identities and purposes. This consultation will occur to get the balance right.”

Mrs Pavey said the result of this consultation will be a new and improved register which would provide better access to clear and easily understood information designed to improve market transparency, functionality and commercial privacy.

Mrs Pavey said she looks forward to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report to be handed down in February 2021, addressing foreign ownership and water speculation. This consultation in conjunction with the report will lead to a consistent national approach to water registers to ensure NSW farmers and communities are not disadvantaged.

Minister Pavey is also calling on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to look at overseas ownership, monopoly ownership and unhelpful speculation, along with registration of brokers across state borders.