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WATER AMENDMENT BILL 2008

Order of the day read for the consideration of message no. 220 from the House of Representatives in committee of the whole (see entry no. 26).

In the committee


SCHEDULE OF THE AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO WHICH

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES HAS DISAGREED

 (2) Xenophon (1) [Sheet 5649]

 Page 2 (after line 11), after clause 3, insert:

  

4 Review of operation of Water Act 2007 as amended by this Act

  (1) The Productivity Commission must, by 30 June 2010, and each 30 June thereafter, prepare a report on the operation of the Water Act 2007 as amended by this Act and provide it to the Minister.

  (2) In preparing a report required under subsection (1), the Productivity Commission must consider but is not limited to the following matters:

 (a) the environmental impact on inflows;

 (b) the economic sustainability of Basin water resources;

 (c) the environmental sustainability of Basin water resources;

 (d) the relative efficiency of water trading rules;

 (e) the effectiveness of the Authority in carrying out its functions;

 (f) the adequacy of the powers of the Authority;

 (g) alternative models buying back tradeable water rights;

 (h) the effectiveness of infrastructure projects and other water-saving measures funded (in whole or in part) by the Commonwealth;

 (i) any other matter relevant to the objects of the Water Act 2007.

  (3) The Minister must ensure that the Productivity Commission has sufficient resources to prepare a report required under subsection (1).

  (4) The Minister must cause a copy of a report prepared under subsection (1) to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 5 sitting days of that House after receiving the report.

 (3) Opp (1) [Sheet 5657]

 Schedule 1, item 1, page 11 (after line 2), after subsection 18H(1), insert:

  (1A) Until the States of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia have each achieved the objective of increasing the flow of water in the River Murray as required by the Living Murray Initiative, these States' water savings programs are to be independently audited and, as soon as the saved water becomes available, the water must be allocated to the Living Murray Initiative and must not be used for any other purpose.

 (4) Opp (1) [Sheet 5650]/AG (1) [Sheet 5659]

 Schedule 1, item 2, page 11 (lines 28 to 35), omit subsection 86A(2), substitute:

  (2) Critical human water needs are the needs for a minimum amount of water, that can only reasonably be provided from Basin water resources, required to meet human drinking, sanitation and health requirements in urban and rural areas.


 (5) Xenophon (3) [Sheet 5649]

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

 45A Before paragraph 20(a)

  Insert:

 (aa) the Authority to take a whole of Basin approach in managing Basin water resources, taking into account environmental, social, economic and hydrological considerations; and

 (6) Opp and AG (1) [Sheet 5622 Revised 3] (As amended by Opp (2) on sheet 5657)

 Schedule 2, page 294 (after line 2), after item 50, insert:

 50A At the end of section 21

  Add:

   Basin Plan not to permit taking water for additional uses outside Basin

  (8) The Basin Plan must ensure that no water is taken from Basin water resources for use outside the Murray-Darling Basin unless, prior to 3 July 2008, water would have been taken from Basin water resources for that use.

   Note: 3 July 2008 is the date the Commonwealth, the Basin States and the Australian Capital Territory entered into an intergovernmental agreement on Murray-Darling Basin Reform.

  (9) The Basin Plan must not permit:

 (a) the construction or operation of water infrastructure; or

 (b) work in the nature of a river flow control work;

   if the primary purpose of that construction, operation or work is to enable water to be taken contrary to subsection (8).

   Note 1: water infrastructure is defined in section 7(3).

   Note 2: river flow control work is defined in section 8 but has a meaning affected by subsection (10).

  (10) For the purposes of this section, river flow control work has the meaning it would have if paragraph 8(2)(b) were repealed.

  (10A) To avoid doubt:

 (a) the delivery of water for the initiatives of the Water for Rivers project was an existing use of water prior to 3 July 2008; and

 (b) the taking of water for the initiatives of the Water for Rivers project is not contrary to subsection 21(8); and

 (c) the construction and operation of water infrastructure for the initiatives of the Water for Rivers project is not contrary to subsection 257(1); and

 (d) all commenced and provisionally agreed Snowy River environmental flows are preserved and excluded from the provisions of subsections 21(8), 21(9) and 257(1).


 (7) AG (2) [Sheet 5659]

 Schedule 2, page 294 (after line 2), after item 50, insert:

 50B At the end of section 21

  Add:

   Basin Plan to provide for reduction in use in additional population centres outside Basin

  (11) The Basin Plan must provide for a reduction over time in the amount of water taken from Basin water resources to meet the needs of population centres outside the Murray-Darling Basin.

 (8) Xenophon (2) [Sheet 5649]

 Schedule 2, page 306 (after line 1), after item 97, insert:

 97D Before paragraph 172(1)(a)

  Insert:

 (aa) to pursue and, where appropriate, make recommendations to other agencies to pursue the objects of the Act as set out in section 3;

 (10) AG (22) [Sheet 5629]

 Schedule 2, page 308 (after line 5), after item 106, insert:

 106B Before paragraph 175(2)(a)

  Insert:

 (aa) those aspects of the Basin Plan excluded from Ministerial direction under subsection 44(5);

 (11) AG (23) [Sheet 5629]

 Schedule 2, page 308 (after line 5), after item 106, insert:

 106C Subsection 178(6)

  Omit "must", substitute "may".

 (13) Opp and AG (2) [Sheet 5622 Revised 3]

 Schedule 2, page 318 (after line 32), after item 162, insert:

 162A At the end of Part 12

  Add:

 

257 Prohibited water infrastructure operations

  (1) An infrastructure operator must not:

 (a) construct or operate water infrastructure; or

 (b) undertake work in the nature of a river flow control work;

   if the primary purpose of that construction, operation or work is to enable water to be taken from Basin water resources for use outside the Murray-Darling Basin.

   Note 1: infrastructure operator and water infrastructure are defined in section 7.

   Note 2: river flow control work is defined in section 8 but has a meaning affected by subsection (3).

  (2) Subsection (1) does not apply if, prior to 3 July 2008, water would have been taken from Basin water resources for that use.


  (3) For the purposes of this section, river flow control work has the meaning it would have if paragraph 8(2)(b) were repealed.

 (14) Opp (5) [Sheet 5640] (As amended by AG)

 Schedule 2, page 318 (after line 32), after item 162, insert:

 162E At the end of Part 12

  Add:

 

261 Water market transparency

   The Minister must, by legislative instrument, determine a scheme to ensure transparent operation of the water market in respect of the purchase of water entitlements by the Commonwealth.

 (15) Opp (1) [Sheet 5664 Revised]

 Schedule 2, page 318 (after line 32), after item 162, insert:

 162G At the end of Part 12

  Add:

 

263 Lower Lakes and Coorong emergency assistance

  (1) As soon as practicable after the commencement of this section, the Government must determine an assistance package of a minimum $50 million for Lower Lakes and Coorong communities to help farmers, small businesses, tourism and community sectors to respond to the crisis caused by the lack of water.

  (2) Payments of assistance in accordance with a scheme determined under subsection (1) are to be made from money appropriated by the Parliament for that purpose.

SCHEDULE OF THE AMENDMENT MADE BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

TO AMENDMENT NO. 16 MADE BY THE SENATE

 (1) Senate amendment (16) (heading to proposed new Schedule 4 to the Water Act 2007):

   Omit "the recognition of Indigenous water rights", substitute "Indigenous representation on the Basin Community Committee".

The Minister for Climate Change and Water (Senator Wong) moved—That the committee does not insist on its amendments to which the House of Representatives has disagreed and agrees to the amendment made by the House to its amendment no. 16.

Debate ensued.

Question put.


The committee divided—

AYES,40


Senators—
ArbibCrossinHurleyParry
BarnettEgglestonHutchinsPayne
BilykEvansKrogerPratt
BoyceFaulknerLudwigScullion
BrandisFeeneyLundyStephens
Brown, CarolFergusonMarshallSterle
BushbyFierravanti-WellsMcEwen (Teller)Troeth
CameronFisherMcLucasTrood
CashFurnerMinchinWong
CollinsHumphriesMooreWortley

NOES, 7


Senators—
Brown, BobHanson-YoungMilneXenophon
FieldingLudlamSiewert (Teller)

Question agreed to.

Resolution to be reported.

The Acting Deputy President (Senator Crossin) resumed the chair and the Chair of Committees (Senator Ferguson) reported that the committee had considered message no. 220 from the House of Representatives relating to the Water Amendment Bill 2008 and had resolved not to insist on the amendments made by the Senate to which the House had disagreed and had agreed to the amendment made by the House to Senate amendment no. 16.

Senator Wong moved—That the report from the committee be adopted.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Minchin) moved the following amendment:

 At the end of the motion, add "but, due to the Government's failure to support in the House the amendments made by the Senate, the Senate calls on the Government to immediately:

  (a) prohibit construction of the North-South Pipeline and extraction of water from the Goulburn and Murray rivers for use in that pipeline;

  (b) ensure that water saved through the Living Murray Initiative is immediately guaranteed and then released for environmental flows in the Goulburn and Murray rivers and to replenish the Lower Lakes; and

  (c) deliver $50 million in emergency relief funding to the Lower Lakes and Coorong communities".

Senator Siewert moved the following amendment to Senator Minchin's proposed amendment:

 After paragraph (a), insert:

  (aa) encourage and support other populations outside the basin who currently rely on the extraction of water from the basin to broaden their water security by expanding their use of other water sources such as stormwater capture and recycling;


Question—That Senator Siewert's amendment to Senator Minchin's proposed amendment be agreed to—put and passed.

Senator Xenophon moved the following amendment to Senator Minchin's proposed amendment:

 After paragraph (c), add:

  (d) direct the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to undertake a comprehensive hydrological assessment of the proposed North-South pipeline project, and the proposed extraction of water for the pipeline, including an audit of the water savings to be achieved by the Victorian Food Bowl Modernisation Project and its impact on the water resources and environment of the Murray-Darling Basin; and

  (e) ensure that the CSIRO is adequately funded to undertake that assessment.

Question—That Senator Xenophon's amendment to Senator Minchin's proposed amendment be agreed to—put and passed.

Question—That the amendment, as amended, be agreed to—put and passed.

On the motion of Senator Wong the debate was adjourned till the next day of sitting.