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National Water Commission Bill 2004

Part 2 Establishment of the National Water Commission (NWC)

   

6   Establishment of the NWC

                   The National Water Commission ( NWC ) is established by this section.

7   Functions of the NWC

General functions

             (1)  The NWC has the following general functions:

                     (a)  to assist with the implementation of the NWI, and to undertake activities that promote the objectives and outcomes of the NWI;

                     (b)  if requested to do so by the Minister, to advise and make recommendations to the Commonwealth on matters of national significance relating to water (including the sustainable management of water resources and access to, and use of, water);

                   (ba)  to advise and make recommendations to COAG on matters referred to in paragraph (b);

                     (c)  if requested to do so by the Minister, to advise and make recommendations to the Minister on matters relating to water;

                     (d)  if requested to do so by the Minister, to advise and make recommendations to the Minister in relation to:

                              (i)  the Australian Water Fund; or

                             (ii)  any other Commonwealth program that relates to the management and regulation of Australia’s water resources;

                     (e)  to advise the Commonwealth or COAG, where relevant, on whether a State or Territory is implementing its commitments under any agreement (other than the NWI or the COAG Water Reform Framework) between the Commonwealth and the State or Territory relating to the management and regulation of Australia’s water resources, if the agreement provides for the NWC to have this function;

                      (f)  any other function prescribed by the regulations.

Specific functions relating to implementing the NWI

             (2)  The NWC has the following specific functions relating to implementing the NWI:

                     (a)  to undertake an initial assessment of:

                              (i)  Australia’s water resources; and

                             (ii)  the governance, management and regulation of those resources;

                            having regard to work already carried out by parties to the NWI and, if required, undertaking further work in order to make that assessment;

                     (b)  to advise COAG of the NWC’s initial assessment under paragraph (a);

                     (c)  to determine whether the plans of the parties to the NWI for implementing the NWI are consistent with the objectives, outcomes, actions and timelines stated in the NWI, and to accredit those plans in accordance with the NWI;

                     (d)  to advise COAG of the NWC’s determination and any accreditations under paragraph (c);

                     (e)  to advise the Commonwealth or COAG, where relevant, on whether the parties to the NWI are implementing their commitments under the NWI;

                      (f)  to monitor the impact of interstate trade in water access entitlements in the Southern Murray-Darling Basin, and to advise the relevant parties to the NWI on that impact;

                     (g)  every 2 years starting in 2006-07, to assess against national benchmarks the performance of the water industry in managing and using Australia’s water resources (for example, in water pricing, water management costs and irrigation efficiency), and to advise COAG of those assessments;

                     (h)  for 2006-07 and 2008-09:

                              (i)  to assess the progress of parties to the NWI towards achieving the objectives and outcomes stated in, and within the timelines required by, the NWI; and

                             (ii)  to advise COAG of those assessments; and

                            (iii)  to advise and make recommendations to COAG on actions that the parties might take to better achieve those objectives and outcomes;

                      (i)  in 2010-11, to review the NWI comprehensively, including assessing:

                              (i)  the NWI against performance indicators that are developed by the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council in consultation with the NWC; and

                             (ii)  the extent to which actions taken under the NWI have improved the sustainable management of Australia’s water resources and have contributed to the national interest; and

                            (iii)  the impact of the implementation of the NWI on regional, rural and urban communities;

                            and to advise COAG of the outcome of the review and the assessment.

Specific functions relating to implementing the COAG Water Reform Framework

             (3)  The NWC has the following specific functions relating to implementing the COAG Water Reform Framework:

                     (a)  for 2005, to assess whether the parties to the NWI have implemented their commitments under the COAG Water Reform Framework, and to advise the Commonwealth of that assessment;

                     (b)  for 2005, if requested to do so by the Minister, to assess whether States or Territories that are not a party to the NWI have implemented their commitments under the COAG Water Reform Framework, and to advise the Commonwealth of that assessment;

                     (c)  for subsequent years, if requested to do so by the Minister, to advise the Commonwealth on the progress of a State or Territory that has a commitment still to be implemented under the COAG Water Reform Framework towards implementing that commitment.

Giving advice and making recommendations

             (4)  The NWC is to give all advice and make all recommendations under this section by giving the advice and making the recommendations to the Minister.

          (4A)  The NWC is to give advice and make recommendations to COAG under this section by giving the advice and making the recommendations to the parties to the NWI at the same time as the advice is given, and the recommendations are made, to the Minister. Parties to the NWI that are given advice and to whom recommendations are made under this subsection are not required to be given the advice or the recommendations by the Minister.

Parties to the NWI include the Commonwealth

             (5)  To avoid doubt, a reference in this section (other than in paragraph (2)(c) or subsection (4A)) to the parties to the NWI includes a reference to the Commonwealth.