High and Dry: How Free Trade in Water Will Cripple Australian Agriculture

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Key Points on Water Policy:

  • Measured per capita, Australia is the third most water rich nation on earth.
  • Water is not a private good but a mixed good, with many public good characteristics. Its price curve is inelastic.
  • Both FAO and World Bank research strongly argues that the primary allocation of water between sectors has to be done by governments and that it cannot be one by markets.
  • Trading water from low to high value agriculture is a flawed concept
  • Permanent water trade must be restricted to within irrigation regions, to avoid stranding of assets and collapse of regional economies.
  • The science on the health of the Murray River is so poor that a Federal inquiry recommended that there be no allocation of environmental water until the necessary research is thoroughly completed.
  • The National Water Commission must nclude experts on irrigation agriculture, so that the National WAter Initiative can be properly and profesionally overhauled.
  • Governments must build new reservoirs.

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