The ACCC welcomes the Australian Government’s plan to legislate new functions for the ACCC as the water market conduct regulator in the Murray-Darling Basin.
This week, the Government released the Water market reform: final roadmap report and announced its intention to implement all of the recommendations.
The ‘roadmap’ built on the findings and recommendations of the ACCC’s 2021 report on Murray-Darling Basin water markets.
“These are important reforms that can help to restore trust and confidence in Murray-Darling Basin water markets,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.
“The recommendations the Government has accepted involve the ACCC enforcing new Basin-wide laws that address harmful market conduct, including through bans on market manipulation, stronger insider trading rules, and a mandatory code of conduct for water market intermediaries.”
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“The benefits of well-functioning Murray-Darling Basin water markets will flow through the entire Australian economy,” Mr Keogh said.
The roadmap presents ways to improve the functioning and governance of water markets, apply safeguards similar to those in place to regulate the conduct of participants in other comparable trading markets, and improve confidence in Basin water markets. It was developed in consultation with Basin states and key stakeholders, including targeted consultation with the ACCC.
In response to the roadmap report, the Government has committed to legislating new water market integrity and conduct reforms, including an enforceable mandatory code of conduct for water market intermediaries.
“We look forward to working constructively with the Australian Government, Basin states, industry and other key stakeholders as the recommendations are implemented,” Mr Keogh said.