The Coalition Government today introduced a Bill to establish the Inspector–General of Water Compliance - a strong and independent regulator to monitor and oversee water compliance in Australia’s largest water resource, the Murray–Darling Basin.
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the Government is providing communities the assurances they want on water management in the Murray-Darling Basin.
“The Inspector-General is all about ensuring strong and independent regulation of our largest water resource,” Minister Pitt said.
“No-one will be marking their own homework.
“Compliance is at the heart of a fair water-sharing system. This Bill significantly strengthens the compliance system in the Murray–Darling Basin,” Minister Pitt said.
“Importantly the Bill recognises that the States are the primary regulators of water in the Murray–Darling Basin, but where matters are not resolved, the Commonwealth now has the appropriate powers to step in.
“The Bill responds to concerns raised by stakeholders throughout the Basin by creating new water theft and illegal water trading offences and penalties. These new offences and penalties will act as a significant deterrent.
“One of the Inspector–General’s key priorities will be encouraging greater consistency in water management by establishing guidelines and standards for Commonwealth and state agencies to monitor water users across the Basin.
“Water is essential for the health and wellbeing of the 2.2 million people who live and work in the Murray-Darling Basin.
“Water supports our national economy through agricultural earnings and tourism and is also essential to the Basin’s natural environment.
“Australia’s first Inspector–General of Water Compliance will be able to work across the whole Basin to strengthen compliance, increase transparency, and improve trust.
“I look forward to the Bill being supported through Parliament.”
The first statutory Inspector–General will be appointed shortly. An Interim Inspector-General is currently in place.
More information about the Inspector-General of Water Compliance is available at www.igwc.gov.au