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Basin-wide compliance and enforcement

The Australian Government is committed to delivering the highest accountability for water use by strengthening compliance across the Basin.

In September 2020, the then Commonwealth Minister for Resources and Water, the Hon Keith Pitt MP, announced the decision to establish the Inspector-General of Water Compliance (IGWC) as part of the Murray–Darling Communities Investment Package.

This decision, following a number of reviews into the implementation of the Basin Plan, brings together the Australian Government's compliance responsibilities under a new statutory role of the Inspector-General.

Roles and responsibilities

Following amendments to the Water Act 2007 (the Water Act) and the Basin Plan 2012 (Basin Plan), the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) is no longer responsible for enforcing compliance with the Basin Plan.

This responsibility now belongs to the IGWC which was formally established on 5 August 2021.

Under new legislation, the IGWC has oversight of water management in the Basin and inquiry powers to investigate the implementation of the Water Act, the Basin Plan and intergovernmental agreements, including the Murray–Darling Basin Agreement.

The MDBA retains its responsibility for overseeing implementation of the Basin Plan, including independent monitoring and evaluation and running the River Murray on behalf of Basin state governments. The MDBA will provide technical advice on request and as required or directed by the Inspector-General and fully cooperate with any inquiries or reviews relevant to the work of the MDBA.

The IGWC and MDBA have a joint interest in strong and effective working arrangements. In support of this, a memorandum of understanding has been established between parties. The MoU is aimed at clarifying roles and responsibilities and help support sharing of information and expertise, and provision of services or advice on relevant matters and specific areas of interest.

Where to find more information

More information about Basin-wide compliance and enforcement can be found on the IGWC website.

A list of archived MDBA compliance and enforcement documents published prior to 5 August 2021 is available.

From 5 August 2021, information about metering and measurement in the Basin is available from the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water website. Related information about hydrometric networks and monitoring technologies is still available from the MDBA website.

Content on the MDBA website will continue to be updated following the transition date.

Updated: 14 Jul 2022