Council of Australian Governments water reform
MACHINERY OF GOVERNMENT CHANGES
On 21 September 2015, responsibility for water policy and resources was transferred to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Administrative Arrangement Order made on 21 September 2015.
This website will be updated to reflect these changes.
Shepparton Weir, Victoria
Photo John Baker
About the Council of Australian Governments water reforms
The role of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) is to initiate, develop and monitor the implementation of policy reforms that are of national significance and which require cooperative action by Australian governments.
The outcomes of COAG meetings are contained in communiqués released at the end of each meeting. Recent COAG water reform decisions include:
- Endorsing the National Water Initiative Policy Guidelines for Water Planning and Management (out of session decision of 5 April 2012);
- Agreeing a response to the National Water Commission's second biennial assessment (2009) of progress in implementation of the National Water Initiative (NWI) (out of session decision of 5 April 2012);
- Agreeing to the retention of the National Water Commission and refocusing its attention on the three key functions of audit, assessment and monitoring (COAG decision 13 April 2012); and
- Requesting that the Standing Council on Environment and Water report to COAG by the end of 2012 on the next stage of national water reform (COAG decision 13 April 2012).
Agreements on water management are made at COAG as well as relevant Ministerial Councils including:
- Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council
- Standing Council on Environment and Water
- Standing Council on Primary Industries
For more information on Water Reform decisions and initiatives see:
National Water Initiative (NWI)
The principal COAG water policy agreement is the NWI, which is Australia's enduring blueprint for water reform. Through it, governments across Australia have agreed on actions to achieve a more cohesive national approach to the way Australia manages, measures, plans for, prices, and trades water.
COAG review of the National Water Commission
The COAG Review of the National Water Commission was tabled in Parliament on 14 March 2012.
COAG agreed on 13 April 2012 to continue the National Water Commission for the life of the NWI, refocusing it on the core functions of audit, assessment and monitoring. The National Water Commission Amendment Bill 2012 was passed by Parliament on 21 June 2012.
- Extension of the National Water Commission - Media Release 21 June 2012
Agreement on Murray-Darling Basin water reform
On 3 July 2008 the Australian and state governments signed the Intergovernmental Agreement on Murray-Darling Basin Reform to secure a sustainable future for the Murray-Darling Basin:
- Intergovernmental Agreement on Murray–Darling Basin Reform (PDF - 236 KB)
- COAG Communiqué 3 July 2008
Water Management Partnership Agreements were subsequently agreed between each of the Murray-Darling Basin States and the Commonwealth, setting out the terms and conditions for Commonwealth funding of state water infrastructure and water savings projects, and requiring specific water planning and market reforms.
For more information on Water Act 2007 and other reforms related to the Intergovernmental Agreement on Murray-Darling Basin Reform see:
National Partnership Agreement on Implementing Water Reform in the Murray-Darling Basin
The Intergovernmental Agreement on Implementing Water Reform in the Murray-Darling Basin (IGA) is an undertaking by the Australian Government and Murray-Darling Basin state governments to implement water reforms that further improve the Basin’s health and secure a future for its communities. Part 7 of the IGA commits the Australian Government to providing financial support to the Basin states via the National Partnership Agreement on Implementing Water Reform in the Murray-Darling Basin (the NPA).
As part of their responsibilities under the NPA, each Basin state has committed to implementing the agreement in accordance with milestones set out in the agreement, and reporting on milestone progress through an annual ‘statement of assurance’. The National Water Commission was responsible for the assessment of Basin states’ progress against milestones in 2013 and 2014. The National Water Commission (Abolition) Act 2015 abolished the National Water Commission in June 2015 and the assessment role was subsequently transferred to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
The first assessment by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources evaluates milestone progress made by Basin states during the assessment period from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015 and was completed on 31 October 2015.