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Andrew Broad: Policy must put food first

Member for Mallee Andrew Broad has spoken at length in Federal Parliament about a need to have tighter controls on using water as a speculative investment.
Mr Broad stressed water was much more than a financial commodity and there was a need to make sure its use for food production had appropriate protection.
He said a Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land Amendment (Water) Bill would provide confidence in national water management.
Mr Broad said the change would create greater transparency and tighter controls around the purchase of water as a speculative investment. “It is my ambition that we move towards a process where we eliminate speculators from the marketplace,” he said. “Essentially, water is not just a financial package, water is a physical product and you can take it and use it to grow something.
“I think we should be very uneasy with the concept of a person sitting in an office in Collins Street, Melbourne, having a portfolio of water, when they don’t own a farm and therefore have no productive use for the water and are just speculating on the market.”
Mr Broad spoke about the Bill with much of his electorate experiencing the best water-supply conditions since 2011. He said the proposed legislation called for more transparency around who was buying water, where they lived and what was the intent of their water purchase.
He said effective water management could build confidence in irrigated farming and encourage further growth in Australia’s export markets.
“It would also produce food and both these factors in turn, would create new jobs,” he said.
Mr Broad warned if non-consumptive investors continued to have the ability to buy and hold water, they would not only influence the price farmers had to pay for their essential water, but also limit its availability.
“Irrigation communities that rely on healthy waterways and water allocations for their livelihoods must be prioritised in any water-management reforms,” he said.
“Anything less will threaten the viability of our agricultural industry.
“It is imperative we ensure water is secured for production, so Australians can feed themselves, so Australians can export food and so Australians can have jobs.”
Mr Broad also flagged other areas of water policy he believed needed reform, including levying a 15 percent surcharge on non-consumptive water purchases and transferring the trigger for carryover from the Hume Dam to Dartmouth.
“I think with sound and reasoned discussion, we can deliver confidence in water management that first and foremost, addresses the interests of our farmers and the environment,” he said.

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Posted on Nov 16 2016

Posted by on Nov 16 2016. Filed under Agriculture, Food & Wine, News, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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