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Water Amendment (Water for the Environment Special Account) Bill 2012

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2010-2011-2012

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

Water Amendment (Water for the Environment Special Account) Bill 2012

 

 

(1)     Schedule  1 , page 3 (before line 5) , before item  1 , insert:

1A  Subsection 4(1)

Insert:

Lock 1 means Weir and Lock No 1 Blanchetown referred to in Schedule A to the Agreement.

1B  Subsection 4(1)

Insert:

Lower Lakes means Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina in South Australia.

1C  Subsection 4(1)

Insert:

Murray Mouth Barrages means the Murray Mouth Barrages referred to in Schedule A to the Agreement.

[object of Part 2AA]

(2)     Schedule  1 , item  2 , page 3 (line 23) to page 4 (line 7) , omit subsection 86AA ( 2 ), substitute:

             (2)  Without limiting subsection (1), environmental outcomes can be enhanced in the following ways:

                     (a)  further reducing salinity levels in the Coorong and Lower Lakes so that improved water quality contributes to the health of insects, fish and plants that form important parts of the food chain, with the aim of achieving the following outcomes:

                              (i)  the maximum average daily salinity in the Coorong South Lagoon is less than 100 grams per litre;

                             (ii)  the maximum average daily salinity in the Coorong North Lagoon is less than 50 grams per litre;

                            (iii)  the average daily salinity in Lake Alexandrina is less than 1000 microsiemens per centimetre for 95% of years and 1500 microsiemens per centimetre all of the time;

                     (b)  keeping water levels in the Lower Lakes above:

                              (i)  0.4 metres Australian Height Datum for 95% of the time; and

                             (ii)  0.0 metres Australian Height Datum at all times;

                            to provide additional flows to the Coorong, and to prevent acidification, acid drainage and riverbank collapse below Lock 1;

                     (c)  ensuring the mouth of the River Murray is open without the need for dredging in at least 95% of years, with flows every year through the Murray Mouth Barrages;

                     (d)  discharging 2 million tonnes of salt per year from the Murray-Darling Basin as a long-term average;

                     (e)  further increasing flows to the Coorong through the Murray Mouth Barrages, and supporting fish migration;

                      (f)  in conjunction with removing or easing constraints referred to in subparagraph (h)(ii), providing opportunities for environmental watering of an additional 35,000 hectares of floodplains in the River Murray System, to do the following:

                              (i)  improve the health of forests and the habitats of fish and birds;

                             (ii)  improve connections between the floodplains and rivers in the River Murray System;

                            (iii)  replenish groundwater;

                     (g)  increasing the flows of rivers and streams, and providing water to low and middle level floodplains and habitats that are adjacent to rivers and streams, in the River Murray System:

                              (i)  to enhance environmental outcomes within those floodplains, habitats, rivers and streams; and

                             (ii)  to improve connections between those floodplains and habitats, and those rivers and streams;

                     (h)  in any other way that is consistent with:

                              (i)  the Authority’s modelling of the effect of increasing the volume of the Basin water resources that is available for environmental use by 3200 gigalitres; and

                             (ii)  easing or removing constraints on the capacity to deliver environmental water to the environmental assets of the Murray-Darling Basin.

[object of Part 2AA]

(3)     Schedule  1 , item  2 , page 4 (line 13) , omit “ up to ”.

[object of Part 2AA]

(4)     Schedule  1 , item  2 , page 5 (lines 29 to 31) , omit paragraph 86AD ( 2 )(a)( iv ), substitute:

                            (iv)  better utilising existing dams and storages to deliver environmental water to the environmental assets of the Murray-Darling Basin ;

[purposes of the Water for the Environment Special Account]

(5)     Schedule  1 , item  2 , page 6 (after line 11) , at the end of subsection 86AD (2), add:

Note 1:       As a result of subsection (4) of this section, water access rights may be purchased only if the purchase is related to an adjustment of a long-term average sustainable diversion limit under section 23A. That section requires the Basin Plan to prescribe criteria in relation to such adjustments. The effect of the criteria prescribed by the Basin Plan is that water access rights may be purchased only in conjunction with improving irrigation water use efficiency on farms or an alternative arrangement proposed by a Basin State.

Note 2:       Under this Part, the Commonwealth will not conduct open tender rounds that are available to all water access entitlement holders in a water resource plan area to purchase water access rights.

[achieving 450 gigalitres]

(6)     Schedule  1 , item  2 , page 8 (lines 1 to 6) , omit section  86AH .

[special provision for the 2024-2025 financial year]

(7)     Schedule  1 , item  2 , page 9 (after line 27) , at the end of Part  2AA , add:

86AJ   Reviews of this Part

             (1)  The Minister must cause 2 independent reviews to be conducted into whether the amount standing to the credit of, and to be credited to, the Water for the Environment Special Account is sufficient to increase, by 30 June 2024, the volume of the Basin water resources that is available for environmental use by 450 gigalitres, and to ease or remove constraints identified by the Authority on the capacity to deliver environmental water to the environmental assets of the Murray-Darling Basin.

             (2)  A review must be conducted by a panel of at least 3 persons nominated by the Minister, after consulting each Basin State.

             (3)  In conducting a review under subsection (1), a panel must also consider the following:

                     (a)  the progress that has been, and is anticipated to be, made towards increasing the volume of the Basin water resources that is available for environmental use;

                     (b)  whether the design of projects in relation to which payments have been made under section 86AD is likely to be effective in increasing the volume of the Basin water resources that is available for environmental use by 450 gigalitres;

                     (c)  any other matter specified in writing by the Minister that is relevant to achieving the object of this Part.

             (4)  A panel must give the Minister a written report of a review.

             (5)  The report of the first review must be provided to the Minister by 30 September 2019.

             (6)  The report of the second review must be provided to the Minister by 30 September 2021.

             (7)  The Minister must cause a copy of a report of a review to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the day the report is given to the Minister.

             (8)  The Minister must table the Government’s response to the report by the following time:

                     (a)  for the first review—the time the Treasurer presents the budget to the Parliament for the 2020-2021 financial year;

                     (b)  for the second review—the time the Treasurer presents the budget to the Parliament for the 2022-2023 financial year.

[reviews]