Inquiry welcomed as water crisis reaches nadir
LOOKING on to the Murray Darling Basin, Dirranbandi irrigator Frank Deshon says he has never seen as many trees and kangaroos die as he has recently.
The plight of the lower-Balonne water situation comes as Minister for Water Resources David Littleproud welcomed the release of the terms reference for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's inquiry into the Murray Darling Basin water market.
The inquiry will look at options to improve the transparency and efficiency of the water market.
It will also examine changes in water use, carryover water, trade between water valleys and systems and the effect of water speculators on the market.
Mr Deshon said he had no problem with the inquiry, but the biggest problem to date is the drought that western Queensland is engulfed by, so it was prudent to make the best use of the water that was available.
"It's as bad as it can get, there is zero water held in off-stream storages," he said.
"There is no water for irrigation moving forward at this point in time and time is running out for the oncoming summer.
"If we can satisfy the low flow requirements more regularly it will be a win for the environment, the communities and all those that live along the river."
Mr Littleproud said the inquiry would provide the evidence needed to fix any problems that have developed.
"Water is so crucial to farmers and communities and I want to make sure they're getting a fair go," Mr Littleproud said.
"As with any market it is important to look at how it is performing and whether it is operating as intended and to the benefit of communities who rely on the Basin."
The government has asked for an interim report to be delivered early in 2020, with a final report by the end of 2020.