SunWater drops annual audit of water compliance

SunWater scraps annual audit of water trading code of conduct


On Farm
SunWater has scrapped the annual audit of its water trading code of conduct.

SunWater has scrapped the annual audit of its water trading code of conduct.

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Instead, SunWater will measure its compliance against the code every three years.

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Queensland government utility company SunWater has scrapped the annual audit of its water trading code of conduct, pushing it out to a three-yearly review instead.

The water trading code of conduct was adopted by SunWater in 2007 as a way to give buyers confidence in the transparency of the state's water trading market. 

SunWater was required to audit its performance against the code every year, although in 2014 asked the state government to shelve this requirement.

According to SunWater's latest annual report, the government agreed to replace the annual audit with a three-yearly audit and spot investigations as demanded by ministers or the SunWater board. 

The first of these three-yearly audits is currently underway and the results will be released once available. 

A SunWater spokesman said no compliance issues had been found in almost ten years worth of annual code of conduct audits. 

"SunWater moved from an annual independent audit process to a triennial one after the 2014-15 water year," the spokesman said. 

"This was supported by the regulator given the confidence of the market participants and SunWater’s record of compliance to the water trading code, with no identified deficiencies or breaches."

The code of conduct was last audited in 2015 by accounting firm BDO. 

The 2015 audit found SunWater's internal processes were up to scratch, and there was no indication the company had breached its water trading code. 

"SunWater is dedicated to providing full transparency to our customers and supporting increased use of water by making unsold allocations available on the temporary trade market," a spokesman said.

"SunWater has used Waterfind as its broker for the last three financial years."

However, the report did make a number of broader recommendations concerning Queensland's channel irrigation schemes and the water trading complaints process.

"When transfer of any of the channel irrigation schemes to local management is confirmed, it is recommended that SunWater assess the impacts on itself, Waterfind and the local management entities to identify in a timely way any changes needed to its processes and to the water trading code of conduct," auditors wrote. 

"Given the advice from Queensland Treasury that the Queensland Competition Authority or the Department of Energy and Water Supply would now be the more natural recipients of any complaints about water trading in Queensland, it is recommended that SunWater consult with those agencies about amending the code and supporting water trading framework accordingly."

The story SunWater drops annual audit of water compliance first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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