​Media release

Australian water management gets an A+ report card 

31 May 2018

  • Productivity Commission report finds Australia’s water resources are being managed well
  • Report finds the National Water Initiative provides sound platform to progress reform
  • recommendation calls for COAG to renew the National Water Initiative by 2020
​A new report by the Productivity Commission has found Australia’s water resources are being managed effectively and that achievements in water reform must be maintained to make sure all Australians have water security.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud welcomed the Productivity Commission’s final report on National Water Reform, saying it reaffirms the importance of sound management of this precious resource.

“Water is one of our most valuable resources. It keeps the whole country running and we have to make sure we are managing it as best as we can,” Minister Littleproud said.

“This report shows all levels of government are important in getting water management right.

“This is reflected in one of the key recommendations of the report which calls for COAG to renew the National Water Initiative (NWI) by 2020.

“The Productivity Commission found that the NWI has served Australia well and is widely regarded as a successful reform initiative, both here at home and overseas.

“It recognised the NWI has provided an excellent foundation for water reform, which has had benefits for all water-users and the environment.

“But we now face new challenges and it makes sense for governments to think about how we can keep improving water management. That is why the Coalition Government wants to keep working with the states and territories who have primary responsibility for water management.”

Minister Littleproud said the Productivity Commission report provides advice on changes to national policy for the management of urban, environmental and rural water.

“Access to secure and affordable water is vital to Australia’s continued economic and social development, particularly in regional and remote areas. 

“We will consider the Productivity Commission recommendations closely and be looking to work with the State and Territory to further improve outcomes for Australians in accessing affordable water.”

Note: This report should not be confused with the PC’s current five-yearly assessment of the effectiveness of the implementation of the Basin Plan and water resource plans, which will be provided to the Government by the end of 2018.

Fast Facts:
  • Australia is recognised globally as a leader in water resource management
  • Expenditure on water services was about $17 billion in 2014-15. About 60 per cent of this was by households, and about 40 per cent by industry and agriculture.
  • Urban water and wastewater assets were valued at more than $160 billion in 2015-16, and investment in these assets has averaged about $5 billion over the past five years.