Discussion paper

A little more valuation, a little less redaction, please

Analysis of unredacted Condamine-Balonne water valuation documents
Irrigation Government procurement Ministerial conduct Water governance Government accountability Australia

This research is based on unredacted valuation documents about the $80 million ‘Watergate’ scandal.

The documents, provided to independent Senator Rex Patrick last week after a two-year battle, contain the commercial valuation commissioned by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) for negotiations with the vendor.

Key findings:

  • The Commonwealth paid $2,745 per megalitre, nearly double the $1,500/ML price recommended by the valuer it commissioned, almost 20% more than the top of the valuation range of $1,100 - $2,300/ML.
  • The valuation documents contradict claims by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources that the valuer “stated that the department should be prepared to pay” a premium for the water rights.
  • The valuation documents also contradict the Australian National Audit Office finding that prices paid in strategic water purchases were equal to the maximum price determined by valuations.
Related Information

Rough estimates: analysis of Senate Estimates documents on Australia’s most con… https://apo.org.au/node/274386

Strategic failure: submission on procurement of strategic water entitlements https://apo.org.au/node/266146

#WaterMates: the buyers and sellers of Australia’s most controversial water https://apo.org.au/node/234076

Debugging the Watergate complex https://apo.org.au/node/231796

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