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Water Amendment Bill 2008

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2008

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

WATER AMENDMENT BILL 2008

 

 

 

 

SUPPLEMENTARY EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

Amendments to be Moved on Behalf of the Government

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Climate Change and Water,

Senator the Honourable Penny Wong)

 

 



AMENDMENTS TO THE WATER AMENDMENT BILL 2008

 

 

GENERAL OUTLINE

 

The purpose of the Government amendments to the Water Amendment Bill 2008 is to:

 

1.   Clarify the processes of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (the Authority) when the Authority is providing the proposed Basin Plan, or a proposed amendment of the Basin Plan, to the Minister for adoption;

 

2.   Recognise the adoption by New South Wales of the National Water Initiative risk assignment framework;

 

3.   Clarify that references to water access rights and interests held by the Commonwealth in paragraph 108(3)(a) of the Water Amendment Bill 2008 (the Bill) extend to water access rights and interests held by any agency of the Commonwealth; and

 

4.   Extend the operation of paragraph 108(3)(d) of the Bill to cover water access rights and interests held by the Commonwealth and any of its agencies for the purposes of the Living Murray Initiative, including water access rights and interests held by the Commonwealth Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, to ensure that water access rights and interests acquired under the Living Murray Initiative will continue to be managed under the Living Murray Initiative in the future, consistent with the agreement reached between the Commonwealth and Basin States in the Agreement on Murray-Darling Basin Reform.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

The Government amendments will have no financial impact.

NOTES ON INDIVIDUAL CLAUSES

 

Amendments (1) to (4) - Schedule 2, page 273, after item 59, after proposed item 59A and page 273, after item 63, after proposed item 63A

 

1.       Amendments (1) and (3) amend sections 41 and 45 of the Water Act 2007 to clarify that when giving the proposed Basin Plan, or a proposed amendment of the Basin Plan to the Minister for adoption, the Authority must also give the Minister the summaries of the public submissions received by it and an explanation of the resulting changes the Authority has made to the proposed Basin Plan or proposed amendment of the Basin Plan. These summaries and explanations are required under subsections 43(11) and 47(11) and paragraphs 43A(6)(d) and 47A(5)(d).

 

2.       Amendments (2) and (4) amend subsections 43(11) and 47(11) by deleting paragraph (b) in each subsection. In light of the requirement that the Authority provide a copy of the proposed Basin Plan, or proposed amendment to the Ministerial Council for consideration prior to submitting the Basin Plan to the Minister for adoption (sections 43A and 47A), the provision of the proposed Basin Plan, or proposed amendment of the Basin Plan to the Minister for adoption (together with the associated consultation documents) should no longer occur at the conclusion of the process provided for in sections 43 and 47.

 

3.       Rather, the giving of the proposed Basin Plan, or proposed amendment to the Basin Plan to the Minister for adoption, together with associated consultation documents, is now provided for in sections 41 and 45. It will occur after all of the consultations on the proposed Basin Plan or proposed amendment of the Basin Plan are complete.

 

Amendment (5) - Schedule 2, item 77, page 279 (after line 27), after subsection 74A(2)

 

4.       On Wednesday 24 September 2008, the New South Wales Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council passed the Water (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2008 (NSW). This Act received the Royal Assent on Thursday 26 September 2008.

 

5.       The Water (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2008 (NSW) made amendments to the Water Management Act 2000 (NSW) to adopt the National Water Initiative risk assignment framework, as modified by clause 10.1.3 of the Agreement on Murray-Darling Basin Reform of 3 July 2008. The Government undertook that if any State applied this risk assignment framework in its legislation prior to the Water Amendment Bill 2008 (the Bill) being passed by the House of Representatives, it would move an amendment to the Bill to include a provision that deems the Minister to have made the determination referred to in section 74A of the Bill in respect of that State.

 

6.       As New South Wales has now satisfied this condition, the Government is moving amendment (5) to give effect to its commitment.

 

Amendments (6) to (8) - Schedule 2, item 93, page 282 (lines 26, 27 and 30)

 

7.       Amendments (6) and (7) clarify that references to water access rights and interests held by the Commonwealth in paragraph 108(3)(a) extend to water access rights and interests held by any agency of the Commonwealth.

 

8.       Amendment (8) extends the operation of paragraph 108(3)(d) to cover water access rights and interests held by the Commonwealth and any of its agencies for the purposes of the Living Murray Initiative. The paragraph was limited in the Bill as introduced into the House of Representatives on 25 September 2008 to water access rights and interests held by the Authority for the purposes of the Living Murray Initiative. However, the Commonwealth Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts also holds water access rights and interests for the purposes of the Living Murray Initiative. This amendment ensures that water access rights and interests acquired under the Living Murray Initiative will continue to be managed under the Initiative into the future, consistent with the agreement reached between the Commonwealth and Basin States in the Agreement on Murray-Darling Basin Reform.