The Australian Government welcomed the passage of the Inspector–General of Water Compliance Bill through Parliament today with bipartisan support.
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said this marks a significant milestone for the Coalition’s delivery of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan.
“This new legislation delivers on the Coalition Government’s commitment to strengthen compliance and enforcement powers in the Murray–Darling Basin by creating new water theft and illegal water trading offences and penalties,” Minister Pitt said.
“Compliance is at the heart of a fair water-sharing system. This Bill significantly strengthens the compliance system in the Murray–Darling Basin.
“The stiff penalties and criminal and civil offences regulated under the Bill will create real deterrents around water theft and illegal water trading offences, providing communities the assurances they need on water management in the Basin.
“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.
“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 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