Water restrictions for you, an endless supply for them: How a foreign corporate giant is snapping up 89 BILLION litres of Australia’s H20 as the country suffers its worst drought ever
- Singaporean company is selling Australian water for $490m to Canadian fund
- It comes as the tightest ever water restrictions are imposed on worried citizens
- Olam is selling 89,085 megalitres of its permanent water rights in Australia
Published: 10:31 EST, 11 December 2019 | Updated: 23:53 EST, 11 December 2019
A multi-billion dollar Singaporean food company is selling 89,000 megalitres of Australian water to a Canadian pension fund.
The mega sale of Australian permanent water rights comes as the country is crippled by one of the worst droughts in its history.
On Tuesday, NSW brought in a complete ban on hoses as part of the toughest water restrictions implemented for more than a decade.
Bushfires are common in the country but scientists say this year’s season has come earlier and with more intensity due to a prolonged drought and hotter-than-usual temperatures. Pictured is a fire danger rating on Saturday at the Mangrove Dam in Central Coast
But no such problem existed for food and agriculture giant Olam International, which sold the 89billion litres of permanent water rights for an astonishing $490 million.
The company sold it to an entity associated with the Public Sector Pension Investment Board, one of Canada’s largest pension investment managers, according to Straits Times.
It will use the water to irrigate almond trees, in a business venture likely to draw criticism over foreign ownership of farms and water.
The water rights are in the lower Murray-Darling Basin.
The chairman of the Victorian Farmers Federation’s water council, Richard Anderson, told the Sydney Morning Herald: ‘Really, all you’ve got is a change of ownership, it (the water) has gone from a Singapore-owned company to a Canadian pension fund.
‘It’s a big bulk of water but it’s still being used in agriculture.
‘It’s not as if they’ve just come in as a speculator and said ”we’ll go and buy a big patch of water and we’ll trade it every year”.’