VFF queries CEWH storage fee ‘subsidy’

Irrigators are subsidising the CEWH: Anderson


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A Victorian Parliamentary inquiry has been told irrigators are heavily subsidising the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder's (CEWH) storage fees.

A Victorian Parliamentary inquiry has been told irrigators are heavily subsidising the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder’s (CEWH) storage fees.

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SPILL CALL: The Hume Dam, after last year's heavy rain: the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) has called for changes to the designation of spilled water.

SPILL CALL: The Hume Dam, after last year's heavy rain: the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) has called for changes to the designation of spilled water.

Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) Water council chair Richard Anderson was making a presentation to the Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Committee into the management, governance and use of environmental water.

“There is a huge anomaly, especially in the north of the state, between the storage fees between the environmental water holder and irrigators,” Mr Anderson said.

“Irrigators effectively are subsidising the environmental water holders storage fees by 20 per cent.”

The pricing system was set up, prior to the unbundling of water and land. 

“They get the Basin price and are being heavily subsidised by irrigators, who still have water attached to their land,” he said.

He reiterated the VFF’s position spilled water should be considered as part of the environmental flow.

“There’s probably an argument it’s a free kick for them, given they are holding large entitlements in the system.”

Mr Anderson said he believed it should be part of the CEWH’s seasonal determination.

“You give a discount, or you don’t charge storage fees on taking that early water,” he said.

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