Review of the National Water Commission

The COAG Review of the National Water Commission (NWC) was completed in accordance with the National Water Commission Act 2004 (the NWC Act), and the intergovernmental agreement on a National Water Initiative, and tabled on 14 March 2012.

The NWC is established by the NWC Act, which expires on 30 June 2012. The Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator the Hon Don Farrell, appointed Dr David Rosalky to undertake a review which examined what ongoing roles and functions should continue or commence, and provided advice and recommendations on appropriate options and institutional arrangements for implementing such functions. Dr Rosalky presented the final report of the review to Senator Farrell on 6 December 2011.

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Stakeholder consultation

The Terms of Reference provided for the independent reviewer to "impartially determine the degree of communication and engagement with stakeholders and take such matters into account as he or she considers relevant, consistent with these terms of reference."

The Review conducted interviews with key stakeholders covering a range of topics. Stakeholders were asked about the value and effectiveness of the NWC's functions in assisting and driving the NWI reforms and the approaches and activities to advance those reforms. They were also asked to identify relevant functions for any future body.

Stakeholders consulted included:

  • all states and territories, in particular departments and agencies whose roles include water policy and regulation, and, in some instances, central agencies
  • Commonwealth departments and agencies including the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) and the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM)
  • the NWC, including each of its commissioners
  • other monitoring and assessing agencies, namely the COAG Reform Council (CRC) and the Productivity Commission
  • water users and industry representatives in rural and urban sectors
  • environmental groups
  • Indigenous representatives
  • experts and researchers in water and governance.

A number of stakeholders were invited to provide written submissions while others sought to submit on their own initiative. Eleven written submissions were received from stakeholders, some of whom were interviewed.

Written submissions received

National Water Commission submission

Attachments to the National Water Commission submission