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Published: 20 September 2018   •   Media release

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has improved public access to the measures that protect water for the environment by publishing a list of current legislation and plans in one central location.

The MDBA's head of Compliance Brent Williams said the register documented the arrangements concerning protecting water for the environment in all Basin states and the ACT.

"This register fulfils a key recommendation of the 2017 Murray–Darling Basin Water Compliance Review, and means it will be easier for all water users to find and understand the measures to protect environmental water," Mr Williams said.

"The publication of this information on one consolidated website is a demonstration that the MDBA is serious about improving the transparency of water rules and the protection of the environment.

"Our job at the MDBA is to be the independent umpire, and it is clear the community wants reassurance that rules are being followed and bad behaviour is being rooted out."

The publication is the latest in a series of updated compliance actions undertaken as a result of the review in the past year by the MDBA, including:

  • Establishing the Office of Compliance
  • Working with the states to develop a basin-wide Compliance Compact, endorsed by state water ministers that will be considered by the Council of Australian Governments
  • Publishing a Compliance and Enforcement Policy 2018-21
  • Signing an MoU with NSW's Natural Resource Access Regulator
  • Appointing of an independent assurance committee to oversee the MDBA's compliance work program
  • Regular reporting on key issues like Water Resource Plan accreditation and allegations of non-compliance
  • Successfully trialling of satellite technology to track environmental flows through the north of the Basin.

Mr Williams said all Basin governments were serious about compliance and strengthening public confidence that the rules were being followed.

"Importantly the Commonwealth Government has also recently appointed former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty as the Northern Basin Commissioner," Mr Williams said.

"His task in no small way is to make sure we all deliver on our commitments to protect water used for the environment and to enforce the rules that apply to all water users.

"Governments are committed to protecting water entitlements and rights for irrigators, the environment and communities across the whole Basin."

The register will be updated as new measures are introduced to protect environmental water.

For more information on the water register visit the MDBA website.

Fast facts:

  • The Murray–Darling Basin covers more than one million square kilometres across four states and one territory, including 23 river valleys and 77,000 kilometres of rivers.
  • The Murray–Darling Basin accounts for about 14 per cent of Australia's land mass and produces about 40 per cent of our food and fibre.
  • 2.6 million people live in the Murray–Darling Basin and more than 3 million rely on it for drinking water.


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