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Tuesday, 1 November 1983
Page: 2150

Question No. 316

Mr Jacobi asked the Minister representing the Minister for Resources and Energy , upon notice, on 23 August 1983:

(1) Further to my repeated questions relating to the demarcation of the South Australia, Victorian, New South Wales boundary on the River Murray, in view of his reply to my Question No. 133 (Hansard, 23 August 1983, page 101), does his answer give effect to the following, that (a) the River Murray Commission and the three States accept the view implicit in my earlier question in particular No. 3291 (Hansard, 13 October 1981 page 3179), (b) is the boundary across the River Murray, that is the eastern boundary of South Australia, to be drawn as a continuation of the existing New South Wales/South Australian border to the point where it intersects with the southern bank of the watercourse of the River Murray which as determined in Ward's case, constitutes the northern boundary of Victoria, (c) the boundary across the Murray at this point is therefore a South Australian/New South Wales boundary. Thereafter to the west of that line, the whole watercourse of the River Murray is within South Australia, with the South Australian/Victorian boundary following the southern bank of the River Murray for approximately 11 kilometres, until it reaches the lateral or north/south boundary between Victoria and South Australia, and (d) it follows that if a jurisdictional issue such as that in Ward's case were to arise in this area, it would be an issue between South Australia and Victoria.

(2) Will he request the respective State Ministers to confirm the above alignments.

Mr Barry Jones —The Minister for Resources and Energy has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) (a), (b), (c) and (d) The River Murray Waters Agreement includes provisions for the distribution of waters and, for the purposes of administering those provisions, the River Murray Commission has adopted as the eastern boundary of the State of South Australia a line across the river at the South Australian/New South Wales border.

For practical purposes, the adopted line is of little significance as the point of measurement of waters entering South Australia is some 30 kilometres upstream .

The attitude of the three States as to the position of the boundary for matters other than the administration of the River Murray Waters Agreement is one for their resolution and I do not propose to comment on the legal and other matters raised by this or the previous questions. They are primarily the concern of the States themselves.

(2) No. I am satisfied that for purposes relating to the Commonwealth's interests under the River Murray Waters Agreement such action is not necessary at the present time. In other respects the question remains primarily the concern of the States involved.