House of Representatives Committees

| House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Australia

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Of drought and flooding rains : Inquiry into the impact of the Guide to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan

May 2011

© Commonwealth of Australia 2011
ISBN 978-0-642-79445-1 Printed version
ISBN 978-0-642-79446-8 HTML version

View the report as a single document - (PDF 2.9MB)

View the report as separate downloadable parts:

Preliminary pages (PDF 143KB)
Chapter 1 Introduction (PDF 84KB)

Release of the Guide
Conduct of the inquiry
Structure of the report
What this report does not do
What this report does

Chapter 2 The Murray-Darling Basin (PDF 310KB)

Community and economic profile
Economic contribution of Basin agriculture
Employment in the Basin
Governance of Basin water resources
History of reform in the Basin
Water Act 2007
Reform fatigue in the community
The need for continued water reform
Governance reform
Basin sustainability
Community sustainability

Chapter 3 The Guide (PDF 225KB)

What is the Guide?
Impact of the Guide
Reduction in confidence and increased investor uncertainty
Employment projections
Existing pressures on farming communities and the drought
A decade of drought
A sense of powerlessness
Interdependence of communities
Use of science and data
Treatment of urban water
Consideration of climate change
Review mechanisms
Setting sustainable diversion limits for groundwater
Reputation of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority

Chapter 4 Engagement with the community (PDF 188KB)

Socio-economic studies
Aboriginal involvement
Recognition of cultural values
Appropriate engagement
State and territory responsibilities
Providing certainty
A Basin community plan
Other issues for consideration

Chapter 5 Water purchase and infrastructure investment (PDF 330KB)

Water for the Future
Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program
‘Restoring the balance’
Improving the buyback
The ‘Swiss cheese’ effect
Making the buyback program more strategic
Using the water allocations market for the environment
Purchasing allocation water when needed
Selling surplus environmental water
Counter-cyclical trade
Options contracts
Improving government investment
Better flexibility in investment
Investing in environmental works and measures
Monitoring, compliance and enforcement
Addressing taxation issues
Investing in research and development
Committee comment

Chapter 6 Delivering the Basin Plan (PDF 178KB)

Alignment of timeframes for implementation
Intergovernmental collaboration
Environmental water planning
Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder
Accountability and transparency of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder
Capability of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder
Improving the accountability of water reform

Chapter 7 Bringing it all together (PDF 173KB)

A focus on the community
Institutional reform
Roles and relationships of each agency
National Water Fund Manager
National Water Commission
Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder
Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
What happens next

Appendix A – List of submissions (PDF 62KB)
Appendix B – List of exhibits (PDF 77KB)
Appendix C – List of witnesses, hearings and inspections (PDF 104KB)
Appendix D – Extract from the Water Act 2007 (PDF 53KB)
Appendix E – Water saving proposals (PDF 53KB)
Appendix F – Interim findings (PDF 675KB)
Appendix G – Governance model (PDF 143KB)

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