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Basin Officials Committee

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

The committee facilitates cooperation and coordination between the Commonwealth, the Basin states and the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) 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 and decision makers is summarised below.

Diagram explaining the Governance arrangements of the Murray–Darling Basin and it's water resources

The committee has 6 members: 1 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 of the Ministerial Council 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
  • advise the Ministerial Council about outcomes and objectives on major policy issues on the management of water and other natural resources of the Basin
  • 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 4 standing and 3 time-bound Tier 1 committees:

  • Basin Officials Committee Alternates (established in June 2020)
  • Environmental Water Committee
  • River Murray Operations Committee
  • Joint Venture Budget and Performance Committee
  • 3 time-bound committees – the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism Implementation Committee, Northern Basin Project Committee and the Capacity Policy Working Group.

Basin Officials Committee Structure
Basin Officials Committee tier 1 structure, December 2020

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.

Basin Officials Committee decisions and activities

Download documents from the Basin Officials Committee meetings.

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Updated: 01 Jun 2022