Across northern Victoria and the Riverina, rural profitability is driven by water whether it’s direct rainfall or irrigation.
So, it is concerning that a federal parliamentary member seems to have no understanding how the organised water-trading market works.
At a recent gathering in his electorate at Shepparton, he was reported to have said it was the traders who had made water too expensive to irrigate dairy farmers’ pastures and crops.
Needless to say his comments were met with an incredulous silence. It is not the traders setting the prices, but cotton growers and to a lesser extent rice growers.
The present market is sitting at around $160 a megalitre, a figure probably too high for dairy farmers.
It is hard to believe that Victorian water stocks are selling to the Murrumbidgee area to grow cotton.
Maybe the federal member should face the issue of low reliability water holders having to pay for water they are unable to access.