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Support for water markets.



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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP Minister for the Environment and Water Resources

T172/07 6th September, 2007

SUPPORT FOR WATER MARKETS

The Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Malcolm Turnbull, today released the National Water Commission Waterlines report - Improving market confidence in water intermediaries. Mr Turnbull also announced that the Australian Government will provide funding of $1.25 million to support the development water markets.

Mr Turnbull said the drought has contributed to record water prices and highlighted the need to have effective water markets and secure trading practices.

“The report I am releasing today investigates whether the conduct of market intermediaries, including water brokers and online exchanges, is adequately regulated.

“Given that about 80 per cent of trades are assisted by intermediaries, their conduct is critical to the continued expansion of water markets.

“The report notes the protection provided by existing consumer protection legislation is adequate but recommends measures to improve confidence in intermediaries including accelerating market reforms and streamlining trade practices.

“The findings of the report will inform governments as they consider what action should be taken to improve water markets under the umbrella of the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council.

“I am also delighted to announce funding of $1.25 million from the Australian Government’s Raising National Water Standards programme for a package of projects to assist with the operation of efficient water markets.

“One early project will support the Australian Private Irrigation Entities (the Bondi Group) to develop a water entitlement register for national irrigation corporations to provide an online, guaranteed and publicly-searchable record of all water entitlements issued by participating water companies and any encumbrances on those entitlements," he said.

The Improving market confidence in water intermediaries report and further information on Raising National Water Standards funding is available from the National Water Commission website at www.nwc.gov.au

Media Contact: Melissa Chrisostomos 02 6277 7640 or 0411 294 869