​Media Release

Support flows to renew National Water Initiative

5 April 2019

  • Federal Coalition Government commits to renewing the National Water Initiative
  • Priority areas for renewal include urban water, Indigenous Australians’ water needs, environmental water management, and investment in new water infrastructure

Today Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud announced the Federal Coalition Government’s response to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the National Water Initiative.

“The Productivity Commission found the National Water Initiative remains a sound and relevant framework for delivering water security for all Australians,” Minister Littleproud said.

“The government’s response to the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry clearly articulates our commitment to ongoing water reforms.

“We absolutely support the PC’s recommendation to renew the Council of Australian Governments’ National Water Initiative.

“This would enable an increased focus on priorities identified by the PC of improving provisions for the environment, water infrastructure, Indigenous Australians’ water needs and for cities and towns.

“We are actively pursuing a number of priorities.

“Already we have allowed the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder to use water allocation sales to fund environmental activities.

“We have made available over $3 billion in infrastructure and low-interest loans for the states.

“And we have for the first time put $40 million into securing Indigenous cultural and economic water entitlements.

“We need to address those priorities as well as the demands of population growth, impacts of drought and climate variability, and community expectations.

"Whilst we’re attentive to future water reforms, we will continue to work with COAG to complete critical water reforms already agreed to.   

“A national, unified response at all levels of government is essential to face current and future challenges.

“That is why the Coalition Government is committed to working with states and territories to improve water management now and into the future.”

For more information, visit http://www.agriculture.gov.au/about/reporting/obligations/government-responses/response-national-water-reform.

Fast Facts:

  • The National Water Initiative is a shared commitment by Australian, state and territory governments to increase efficiency of Australia’s water use.
  • The National Water Initiative provides a consistent approach that will continue to lead to greater certainty and security for investment and productivity, rural and urban communities, and the environment.
  • The Productivity Commission triennial assessments of the National Water Initiative was released in May 2018.
  • The Productivity Commission identified future water reform priorities and recommended a renewed Intergovernmental Agreement on a National Water Initiative to guide the implementation.
  • COAG’s National Urban Water Planning Principles provide a framework that can be applied to all urban planning for integrated water cycle management infrastructure. Within the National Water Initiative, COAG has agreed to implement innovative water supply sourcing, treatment, storage and discharge to move toward water sensitive cities.