THE federal government has appointed a former high-ranking public servant to assess how Murray-Darling Basin water markets and community confidence can be improved.
Former Agriculture and Water Resources Department secretary Daryl Quinlivan has been appointmented principal adviser on a panel to examine recommendations of an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report, which was released in March.
Although the ACCC found no evidence of market manipulation, it noted the integrity of the market could be undermined and recommended establishing a new Water Markets Agency to regulate trading.
Water Minister Keith Pitt said Mr Quinlivan would be supported by an advisory group to work with basin states in developing a water market reform roadmap that would improve the governance, structure and operation of water markets.
"We have been listening to communities in the Murray-Darling Basin to ensure we deliver practical solutions so water markets operate more effectively and efficiently," Minister Pitt said.
"Daryl Quinlivan is well placed to lead and advise me on water market reforms given his agricultural and water experience, and as former head of the Productivity Commission Office."
"Mr Quinlivan will start work from today to provide advice on actions that can be taken quickly and agreed to by Basin states by December, and develop a final roadmap during 2022."
Mr Quinlivan said basin communities wanted assurance that they had reliable, fit-for-purpose water markets that gave everyone a fair go and that the community could have confidence in.
"I am looking forward to getting on with the job and developing a roadmap that can inform the Australian government's approach to this critical piece of public policy," Mr Quinlivan said.
"My focus will be on improving water market performance without adding unnecessary costs and regulatory burdens on users."
The remaining nine members of the expert panel assisting Mr Quinlivan will be announced in the near future.
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