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Water Amendment Bill 2008

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5661

2008

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

Water Amendment Bill 2008

 

 

(1)           Schedule 2, page 293 (after line 7), after item 45, insert:

45A  Before Division 1 of Part 2

Insert:

Division 1A—Interim Basin Plan

Subdivision A— Powers of Minister in relation to management of Basin water resources

18I  Decision that Interim Basin Plan required

                   The Minister may decide that, to address the current crisis affecting the Murray-Darling Basin, an Interim Basin Plan is required, as an emergency measure to apply until such time as he or she approves a Basin Plan that is consistent with the Water Act 2007 .

18J  Authority to prepare Interim Basin Plan

             (1)  If the Minister decides under section 18I that an Interim Basin Plan is required, the Minister must direct the Authority to prepare the Interim Basin Plan and the Authority must prepare the Interim Basin Plan.

             (2)  An Interim Basin Plan prepared by the Authority under subsection (1) must include any determination made by the Minister under section 18L, 18M or 18N.

             (3)  A direction by the Minister under subsection (1) must provide that the Authority must prepare the Interim Basin Plan, after consultation with the Basin States and provide it to the Minister within 6 months of the date of the direction.

             (4)  An Interim Basin Plan may include any of the matters that must or may be included in a Basin Plan under section 22, but does not need to include all the detail required in a Basin Plan.

             (5)  A direction by the Minister under subsection (1) is a legislative instrument.

18K   Approval of Interim Basin Plan

             (1)  If the Minister gives a direction under subsection 18J(1), within 30 days of receiving the Interim Basin Plan from the Authority the Minister must either:

                     (a)  approve the Authority’s Interim Basin Plan; or

                     (b)  approve the Authority’s amended Interim Basin Plan provided to the Minister under paragraph (3)(a); or

                     (c)  amend the Authority’s Interim Basin Plan and approve it; or

                     (d)  prepare an alternative Interim Basin Plan and approve it;

as an emergency measure to apply until such time as he or she approves a Basin Plan.

             (2)  The Minister must, before amending the Authority’s Interim Basin Plan under paragraph (1)(c) or preparing an alternative Interim Basin Plan under paragraph (1)(d), consult the Authority.

             (3)  If the Minister consults the Authority under subsection (2):

                     (a)  the Authority may amend its Interim Basin Plan and provide the amended Interim Basin Plan to the Minister within a timeframe decided by the Minister; or

                     (b)  the Minister may amend the Authority’s Interim Basin Plan under paragraph (1)(c) or prepare an alternative Interim Basin Plan under paragraph (1)(d).

             (4)  An Interim Basin Plan approved under subsection (1) is a legislative instrument.

             (5)  When an Interim Basin Plan approved under paragraph (1)(b), (c) or (d) is laid before a House of the Parliament under the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 , the Minister must also lay before that House a document that sets out the Minister’s reasons for not approving the Authority’s Interim Basin Plan under paragraph (1)(a).

18L  Matters that may be determined by Minister

             (1)  The Minister may, to give effect to an Interim Basin Plan under this Division, determine:

                     (a)  interim water sharing regimes; and

                     (b)  interim allocation arrangements; and

                     (c)  interim storage management; and

                     (d)  interim water accounting rules; and

                     (e)  rules for arrangements for sale and purchase and movement of water among Basin States; and

                      (f)  the allocation of water for essential system maintenance, conveyance and environmental purposes; and

                     (g)  any other matter necessary to give effect to an Interim Basin Plan.

             (2)  In making a determination under subsection (1), the Minister must have regard to the matters set out in section 18O.

             (3)  A determination under subsection (1) is a legislative instrument.

18M   Sharing regime

                   In the interests of sustaining and protecting the environment and to assist in making any determination under subsection 18L(1), including in relation to any water resource plan area, the Minister must determine:

                     (a)  the share of water needed to maintain Basin water resources in a manner that enables water of reasonable quality to be conveyed to water users, to maintain essential system functions and to maintain water quality; and

                     (b)  the share of the remaining non-flood water to which a Basin State is entitled; and

                     (c)  the share, if any, to be granted to the environment as a separate and clearly identifiable holder of an inalienable entitlement to water allocations in the water resource plan area.

18N   Activities inconsistent with relevant international agreements

                   The Minister may make a determination that certain activities are inconsistent with relevant international agreements.

Subdivision B—Matters to which Minister must have regard when making a determination

18O   Matters to which Minister must have regard when making a determination

                   In making a determination under this Division, the Minister must have regard to:

                     (a)  the principles set out in the National Water Initiative which have been agreed to by all governments of the Commonwealth of Australia;

                     (b)  critical human needs;

                     (c)  environmental needs and obligations including international obligations;

                     (d)  community needs;

                     (e)  the importance of efficient market processes in determining the most appropriate way to use water and to facilitate structural adjustment;

                      (f)  the importance to the economy and communities of maintaining permanent plantings;

                     (g)  relevant international agreements;

                     (h)  the possibility that all or some parts of the Murray-Darling Basin may be experiencing adverse climate change, so that it may not be possible to sustain all forms of water use in the Murray-Darling Basin and that any adjustment burden must shared equitably across the Murray-Darling Basin;

                      (i)  the need for economically efficient water use and investment;

                      (j)  any other benefits available to particular users of Basin water resources;

                     (k)  the need to prevent activities that contribute to the improper use, storage and diversion of water;

                      (l)  any other matter to which the Minister considers it necessary to have regard.

Subdivision C—Powers of Authority in relation to implementation, compliance and enforcement of Interim Basin Plan

18P   Powers of Authority in relation to implementation, compliance and enforcement of Interim Basin Plan

             (1)  The Authority is responsible for implementing an Interim Basin Plan.

             (2)  For the purposes of investigating compliance with and enforcing an Interim Basin Plan, the Authority has the same enforcement powers as it has in relation to a Basin Plan.

             (3)  For the purposes of investigating compliance with and enforcing an Interim Basin Plan, the Authority also has the same enforcement powers as the ACCC and the Minister have in relation to a Basin Plan.

Subdivision D—Other matters

18Q   Inconsistent State actions

             (1)  A State must not act in any manner which is inconsistent with an Interim Basin Plan or a determination made under this Division.

             (2)  A State that imposes restrictions on the trading and transfer of tradeable water rights in relation to Basin water resources is not eligible to receive any Commonwealth funding under the National Water Initiative.

18R  Trading and transfer of tradeable water rights by Commonwealth

                   The Commonwealth and the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder are not subject to any restrictions on the trading or transfer of tradeable water rights in relation to Basin water resources.

18S   Declaration of taxation schemes detrimental to management of Basin water resources

             (1)  The ACCC must, by 30 June 2009, inquire into the effects of arrangements in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 on:

                     (a)  the water market; and

                     (b)  the nature of irrigation practice and investment;

and provide, by 31 December 2009, advice to the Minister based on the outcome of the inquiry.

             (2)  Acting on the advice of the ACCC, the Minister may determine that a taxation scheme is detrimental to management of the Basin water resources.

             (3)  The Minister must give a copy of a determination made under subsection (2) to the Treasurer.

             (4)  If the Minister gives a copy of a determination to the Treasurer under subsection (3), the Treasurer must cause a report to be prepared in response to the determination.

             (5)  The Treasurer must cause a copy of a report prepared under subsection (4) to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the completion of the preparation of the report.

18T  Failure to comply with Interim Basin Plan made under this Division

             (1)  If a Basin State fails to comply with an Interim Basin Plan or any determination made under this Division, the Minister must assess:

                     (a)  the impact of that failure to comply on the other shares determined under section 18M in the Basin water resources; and

                     (b)  the quantitative effect of that failure to comply on the Basin water resources.

             (2)  If a Basin State fails to comply with an Interim Basin Plan or any determination made under this Division, the Minister must by determination reduce that Basin State’s share in the Basin water resources as determined under section 18M by 10 times the quantitative effect of that failure to comply as assessed under paragraph (1)(b).

             (3)  If a Basin State, after the Minister under subsection (2) reduces that Basin State’s share in the Basin water resources, continues to fail to comply with an Interim Basin Plan or a determination made under this Division, the Minister must apply for an injunction against the Basin State under section 140.

[Interim Basin Plan]