The $80m water deal that has provided no water
In 2017, $80 million of taxpayers’ money was used to buy water licences from two Queensland properties owned by Eastern Australia Agriculture (EAA), a company Angus Taylor was once a director of. The government bought overland flows, which are only available in floods so it is yet to receive one drop of water
The deal was signed off by then-agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce, even though it had previously been rejected twice. Taylor said he had never had a direct or indirect financial interest in EAA, or any associated company.
EAA’s parent company, Eastern Australia Irrigation, booked a $52 million profit on the sale. EAI is based in the tax haven of the Cayman Islands. Taylor was also once a director of EAI.
Taylor has said he and his family did not benefit from the water sale, and that he ceased to be a director of the Caymans parent before becoming an MP. He has said he was not aware of the water purchase until it was announced.
The sale did not go to open tender. It has been referred to the auditor general.