05.03.20. A register of exactly who owns Australia’s water rights is vital, just as vital as water is to the prosperity of all Australians. As it stands right now it is all but impossible for anyone outside the system to do that. Foreign countries, companies and various holdings can and do control the price of our water. The worst, however, is that politicians with ownership do not have to declare them on their pecuniary interests declaration. Murray MP Helen Dalton has declared hers. If any politicians hold these rights that can manipulate the costs of water flow to producers ever higher, in secrecy, surely it’s a conflict of interest bordering on a form of treason? It’s no wonder that an anonymous National’s member tried to stop Ms Dalton’s bill. Helen says she wants a new parliamentary bill to create “some transparency with water ownership” within the water market at a federal and state level. She is trying to introduce a new bill to parliament that would see politicians forced to declare their water ownership and publish information on the water holdings of corporations. “We want to know who owns our water,” Ms Dalton told Sky News host Peta Credlin.
Ms Dalton said the new bill would shed light on “not only politicians declaring their water interests, but also foreign companies, even foreign governments, traders (and) even celebrities”. “We have got water registers out there but it is very, very difficult to search, you search by a number rather than a name … so you could be there looking for a needle in a haystack for ages,” she said. “So this offers a more searchable database”.