Eddie McGuire is an iconic Australian television presenter, radio host, football commentator, journalist, and columnist. He’s also the owner of a fast-growing production company — and once owned Collingwood F.C. — but does he own water rights, as many people suspect?
As far as the general public is concerned, Eddie McGuire does not own water rights and he is unsure as to why farmers are approaching him about purchasing his ‘supply’. Despite Eddie’s denial of the claims, rumors that he owns rights — specifically in the Murray-Darling basin — run rife.
It’s a controversial topic for citizens of Australia, and rightfully so. Let’s investigate what water rights are, why people think Eddie McGuire owns several of them, and take a look at what businesses Eddie does own.
What are Water Rights?
For those who aren’t aware, in simple terms, water rights enable an owner to freely take water from rivers and other water sources. Without owning water rights, a person cannot take water directly from the source.
Up until 2014, a person could only own water rights if the land they purchased included a water source. An example of such a scenario would be a person purchasing a farm that had a river flowing through it.
But with the recent land law changes, this was no longer a requirement and any person could purchase water rights without purchasing the land that the water source is located on.
Due to rising dry conditions and increased water demand, water rights are a hot — but scarcely affordable — commodity in Australia. According to ABC, “Prices for allocation water increased 140 cents from $230 a megalitre in July last year to $550 a megalitre in July this year.”
In layman terms, this means that those who own water rights are profiting heavily while those who need water to survive, such as farmers, are finding it difficult to free up the finances in order to secure a stable supply of water.
What Businesses Does Eddie McGuire Own?
Eddie is the owner and acting Chairman of Jam TV Australia, a television broadcasting station that was founded in 2010. The company is responsible for broadcasting ‘Millionaire Hot Seat’, ‘The Sunday Footy Show’, ‘Footy Classified’, ‘Invictus Games’, and many other successful productions.
Jam TV Australia is described as a company that “works with media & sporting organisations, corporates and production partners to create incredible sport & entertainment content for broadcast in Australia and across the globe.”
When speaking to Media Week, Eddie said of Jam TV Australia, “We are not a listed business like Crocmedia and we just quietly go about our business.”
Now, let’s get to the answer to the real question on everyone’s mind: does Eddie McGuire own water rights?
Does Eddie McGuire Own Water Rights?
For quite some time, Eddie was thought to be “one of the largest water-holders in Victoria”. But it would appear as though Eddie does not own any water rights.
As it turns out, Eddie is just one of a handful of prominent Australian public figures — including Senator Penny Wong, the Myer family, and former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull — who were wrongly accused of owning water rights.
After confirming that the claims he was a water right owner were untrue, Eddie told the Sunday Herald Sun that he is “Happy for you to dispel the rumor.”
Despite Eddie’s public comment on the matter, many still believe that he does own water rights and is denying his ownership due to fear of public lambasting. There are several online discussion boards that cover the topic, with most commenters thinking that the star is also a water owner.
But Stop Foreign Ownership in Australia seems to have the inside scoop, saying, “The market has become so confusing that TV star Eddie McGuire has fielded offers from farmers wrongly thinking he had bought water rights.”
While there is a state register that details who is buying water rights, privacy rules in Australia are so strictly enforced that nobody can know with certainty whether or not Eddie McGuire owns water rights.