Greater policing powers on water meet agenda

17 December 2019
  • Ministerial Council to consider investigation of water management and sharing 
  • Council will also consider new statutory powers for the Inspector-General
  • Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council to meet on 17 December

Minister for Water Resources David Littleproud will urge the states again to support the Interim Inspector-General of Murray-Darling Water Resources in both his initial investigation and on the position having the full powers of an independent umpire.

Minister Littleproud wrote to the states in early December about the investigation and about legislation that would enshrine the Inspector-General. 

The Minister has also requested the Interim Inspector-General to undertake an inquiry into water management of Murray-Darling water resources and report back by March 31.

“Farmers came to Canberra and asked that we look at how water is managed and shared,” Minister Littleproud said.

“The states only need to co-operate on this investigation.”

Secondly, the states have been consulted on legislation on the ongoing appointment of a statutory Inspector-General. 

“This will require Basin states to share their powers with the Inspector-General so they can shine the light on Basin Plan implementation and make recommendations,” Minister Littleproud said.

“The states will retain fully all their existing powers enshrined in their legislation. 

“One of the issues that we have heard from the National Farmers’ Federation, industry stakeholders and the community is that the Inspector-General needs to have appropriate powers to undertake investigations including in respect to the provision of information. 

“This is seen as critical to giving communities confidence in how Basin water resources are managed.

“We can’t do this alone and need the states to agree so the investigation can go ahead.

“The Inspector-General needs powers to compel evidence and call witnesses so he can make recommendations.

“The Inspector-General is an independent umpire we can all respect and trust.

“I want to make water management transparent so we can improve confidence in the Plan.

“I’m focussed on the best management of the system during a time of prolonged drought.

“We have a responsibility to Basin communities and future generations to get this right.”

Minister Littleproud chairs the Council which includes Hon. Melinda Pavey (NSW), Hon. Lisa Neville (Vic), Hon. David Speirs (SA), Hon. Dr Anthony Lynham (Qld), Mick Gentleman (ACT). 

Further information can be found at: https://www.mdba.gov.au/publications/mdba-reports/ministerial-council