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Is Macquarie Banking on PM's water plan?

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 28 Feb 2007

"Large corporate players could seriously undermine the PM's multi-billion dollar water plan," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"Financial institutions like Macquarie Bank and Timbercorp are apparently holding large amounts of water allocations they bought up under the now-defunct MIS managed investment schemes," she said.

"There is a real risk that these institutions may see the $3 Billion the Prime Minister has put on the table to addressing over-allocation as their saviour."

"Financial institutions have been buying up large volumes of water which is distorting regional water markets, forcing prices up and pricing family farms out of the market."

"The Prime Minister has failed to address the prospect of water market speculation and price gouging under circumstances where he has signalled that large amounts of public money will be on the table," she said.

"I do not for one minute believe that those organisations are concerned about the long-term security and sustainability of the agricultural industry in Australia. They are solely focused on achieving a short-term return on their investments."

"The shut down of non-forestry MIS (managed investment schemes) tax concessions has left the big end of town holding a significant volume of water entitlements that they will either offload for a profit or want to move to high security uses. Either way this will distort the water market," concluded Senator Siewert.

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