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Book uncovers how markets disadvantage family farmers

A book that uncovers why Australia’s family farmers are disadvantaged by water markets has been launched this week.

It reveals what community water advocates have long been saying – that change is needed to protect our food and fibre producers.

The book titled ‘Sold Down The River – How Robber Barons and Wall Street Traders Cornered Australia’s Water Market’ has been welcomed by the Speak up Campaign, which has long questioned the fairness of the water market for family farmers producing staple foods.

Speak Up administration officer Shelley Scoullar said authors Scott Hamilton and Stuart Kells had been extremely diligent in their investigations and research when compiling the book.

“It was a relief to have academia genuinely listening to those who were actively trying to produce food to put on the table of every day Australians,” Mrs Scoullar said.

She said both Hamilton and Kells are experts in public policy and started lifting the lid on the water market when they were researching political bi-partisanship in Australia.

“They were researching the Murray Darling Basin Plan when they became aware that the nation’s most precious resource had become a money-making scheme for market speculators.

“I have read the book twice and am still shocked at the disadvantage genuine family farmers have had suffer at the expense of profiteers. In my opinion it is unAustralian that this has been allowed to happen. It undermines our culture of a fair go for all and has cost the livelihoods of many hard working food and fibre producers,” said Mrs Scoullar.

The book can be ordered online or through local bookstores and Mrs Scoullar recommends all Australians should read it. She believes unless we demand policy changes around who can own water, how it is traded and regulations which other markets are subject to then we stand to lose more farmers.

“I don’t believe that is what the average Australian wants; they don’t want family farmers forced off the land due to unfair water markets.

“We are on the verge of losing generations of land and water management knowledge, and these are good people who seek to support environmental outcomes on their farms.

“As I have always said – ‘family farmers report to the next generations, not shareholders’,” Mrs Scoullar said.

A list of websites for online orders can be found on the Speak Up website

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