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Basin Officials Committee

The Basin Officials Committee (the Committee) is established by the Murray–Darling Basin Agreement, Schedule 1 to the Water Act 2007 (Cth).

The Committee facilitates cooperation and coordination between the Commonwealth, the Basin states and the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (the Authority) in funding works and managing the Basin water and other natural resources. The framework within which the Committee operates includes the Basin Plan 2012, the Water Act 2007 (Cth) and the Murray–Darling Basin Agreement. 

The Committee’s role and the relationships between key forums/ decision makers is summarised below.

Governance arrangements of the Murray–Darling Basin
Governance arrangements of the Murray–Darling Basin

The Committee has six members: one senior official from each Basin jurisdiction (the Commonwealth, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory), and is chaired by the Commonwealth member.

The Authority's Chair and Chief Executive are permitted to attend and participate in any Committee meeting but are not entitled to vote on meeting decisions.

The Committee is responsible for providing advice to the Ministerial Council, and for implementing policy and decisions on matters such as state water shares and the funding and delivery of natural resource management programs.

The key functions and powers of the Committee are:

  • to advise the Authority on engaging the Basin states in preparing the Basin Plan and proposed amendments of the Basin Plan;
  • to advise the Ministerial Council in relation to outcomes and objectives on major policy issues on the management of water and other natural resources of the Basin; and
  • to exercise responsibility for high level decision making regarding river operations, including setting objectives and outcomes to be achieved by the authority in River Murray operations.

In December 2019, in response to an independent review of governance arrangements, the Ministerial Council endorsed committee governance improvements proposed by the Joint Governments which included a revised governance structure.

The revised Committee structure illustrated below will consist of four standing and two time-bound Tier 1 committees:

  • the BOC Alternates (established in June 2020);
  • the Environmental Water Committee;
  • the River Murray Operations Committee;
  • the Joint Venture Budget and Performance Committee (to replace the Joint Programs Budget Committee); and
  • two time-bound committees — the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism Implementation Committee, and the Northern Basin Project Group Committee.

Basin Officials Committee structure

The revised committee structure and other changes are designed to implement the governance improvements, promote joint stewardship of the Basin, and to improve the strategic focus and effectiveness of the Committee.

Updated: 14 Aug 2020