The Federal Government is considering using water brokers to handle the sale of some of its environmental water, a Shepparton conference heard last week.By Geoff Adams
The Federal Government is considering using water brokers to handle the sale of some of its environmental water, a Shepparton conference heard last week.
The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office is looking at how it can sell some of the water it has bought from authorities and irrigators in recent years.
While no decision has been made on how it will market the water, selling through intermediaries is one option.
Officers from the Commonwealth department met with water brokers at the Australian Water Brokers Association’s annual general meeting in Shepparton last week.
Water brokers at the meeting said past experience had shown that dealing with governments often extended the time to process water purchases and that was a concern for brokers and irrigators.
‘‘While the trade is being approved, there could be more rain, or an extra allocation of water and the buyer wants to change their approach; they might think the price should be cheaper,’’ one broker said.
Association president Phil Grahame said the water market was becoming a fast moving and dynamic process so buyers and sellers did not have patience for long administrative delays.
They also warned that dumping large volumes of water for sale would artificially manipulate the market.
A director from the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office Jessica Hartmann assured the meeting they were aware of this potential.
She said the Commonwealth would give advance notice of its intentions to sell water and they would be wanting intermediaries to know the Commonwealth was the seller.
Dr Hartmann said one issue they would have some difficulty with was the practice of water brokers representing buyers and sellers as the Commonwealth would see this as a conflict of interest.
Dr Hartmann said the association’s adoption of a new code of conduct helped to clarify some questions they had about practices in water trading.
Mr Grahame said there were some potential sticking points in the Commonwealth’s approach to selling through intermediaries, including the need for offers to be available to the widest possible pool of potential buyers and the issues of how the Commonwealth wanted their funds handled.
However, he said the bottom line was that brokers saw the Commonwealth as a customer and they would do all they could to meet its requirements.
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