Published: 19 March 2012
Government confirms ongoing water reform role for independent National Water Commission
The National Water Commission (NWC) will continue to operate as an independent and expert national agency to oversee water reform, following acceptance by the federal government of the recommendations of an independent review of the Commission.
The Murray River as it flows through Picnic Point near Mathoura, close to the border between Victoria and New South Wales. The National Water Commission has a remit to audit the effectiveness of implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan
Credit: Wazzas world’s photostream
‘Commissioners welcome the release of this report, which after extensive consultation with stakeholders concluded “the role that can be played by a specialist and independent body like the NWC is likely to be even more important in the future”’, says Ms Munro, Chair of the NWC.
The NWC was set up under an agreement signed by all state and territory governments. It advises the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and the federal government on national water issues and the progress of the National Water Initiative (NWI). The NWI is a blueprint for water reform in Australia that also has intergovernmental sign up.
The NWC also has an ongoing function to audit the effectiveness of implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and associated water resource plans.
According to Ms Munro, the audits and assessments of national water reform activity undertaken by the NWI, which are publicly available, ‘remain central to ensuring accountability’.
The independent review of the NWC on which this recent federal government decision is based ‘noted the expertise of skilled staff, the proficiency of the organisation and the acceptance by stakeholders of the Commission’s independence of jurisdictions,’ says Ms Munro.
In 2011, the NWC’s assessment of reform under the NWI found that the NWI has ‘delivered improved security, efficiency and sustainability in Australia’s use of its water resources. However, we also found that the full benefits of the NWI are yet be delivered and that new challenges are emerging,’ says Ms Munro.
Source: National Water Commission