Food and agriculture company Olam International Limited ‘Olam’ is selling 89,000 megaliters of Australian water to a Canadian pension fund while the country is being crippled by one of the worst droughts ever.
NSW announced a complete ban on hoses as part of water restrictions implemented for over ten years. But that wasn’t a problem for the company.
The mega sale of Australian permanent water rights got Olam International a whopping $490 million. According to Straits Times, it was sold to one of Canada’s biggest pension investment managers.
The water will be used to irrigate almond trees, in a business venture that may face criticism about foreign ownership of water and farms.
Richard Anderson, the chairman of the Victorian Farmers Federation’s water council, said to 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.’”
In another deal, the Canadian pension fund also purchased 12,000 hectares of almond orchards in Victoria.
Water restrictions in Illawarra, the Blue Mountains and Sydney were increased to level 2 as dam levels in the area sank to only 45 percent capacity.
The severe drought sees a complete ban on hoses, requiring people to use a watering can to water their plants and a sponge and a bucket to wash their vehicles.
One internet user from Sydney commented: “Why on earth would you do this , who was it who thought they could sell our water and that it was a good idea.I suggest they buy it back.”
Another one from Bronx said: “So the gov sells our water then we get penalised hundreds of dollars, that goes straight back to the gov and just for using the water we have left? The whole world gets to live like kings and queens while we suffer and pay the price?”
Someone from Melbourne added: “When are we going to stop bending over to any country for money?”
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