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Appropriation (Nation Building and Jobs) Bill (No. 2) 2008-2009

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The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia






Appropriation (Nation Building and Jobs) Bill (No. 2) 2008-2009





(1)     Page 12 (after line 12), after Part 4, insert:

Part 5—Murray-Darling Basin stimulus measures

18   Establishment of Murray-Darling Basin Stimulus Fund

Establishment of the Fund

             (1)  The Murray-Darling Basin Stimulus Fund is established by this section.

             (2)  The purpose of the Fund is to provide targeted assistance measures to improve the economic and environmental viability of the Murray-Darling Basin, including by:

                     (a) bringing forward $3.1 billion in funding allocated to buy back water entitlements and accelerate implementation of the Restoring the Balance in the Murray-Darling Basin program; and

                     (b)  bringing forward $2 billion of the $5.8 billion allocated to water infrastructure programs in the Murray-Darling Basin under the Commonwealth’s Water Plan; and

                     (c)  bringing forward $250 million in funding for pilot stormwater harvesting projects through the National Water Security Plan for Towns and Cities; and

                     (d)  providing for the payment of grants of up to a total of $2 billion under the structural adjustment scheme required to be determined under section 19.

             (3)  Payments from the Fund are to be met from funds appropriated by the Parliament for the purposes of this section.

Payments out of the Fund

             (4)  Payments out of the Fund must be applied to the purposes of the programs specified in subsection (2).

Administration of the Fund

             (5)  The Fund is to be administered by the Minister.

             (6)  The administration of the Fund may include use of a reverse tender or similar initiative designed to quickly discover the price at which water users are willing to voluntarily sell water entitlements to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.

             (7)  The Minister may establish and fund appropriate administrative and advisory bodies to help manage the Fund.

19  Structural adjustment package

             (1)  The Minister must, by legislative instrument, determine a scheme in the nature of a structural adjustment package to allocate transitional funding to water users, water suppliers and rural communities in the Basin affected by the purchase by the Commonwealth of any water entitlements.

             (2)  A scheme determined under subsection (1) must provide for structural adjustment assistance to be allocated to communities, business and individuals to assist them to adjust to:

                     (a)  reduced water availability; and

                     (b)  reduced economic activity associated with the restructuring of irrigated agriculture or other enterprises; and

                     (c)  changes in land use; and

                     (d)  changes in the configuration of water supply and distribution systems.

             (3)  In determining the amount of funding to be allocated to any community under the scheme, regard must be had to the following factors:

                     (a)  the minimum scale of economic activity required to enable the economic and social viability of communities; and

                     (b)  the efficiency of the remaining water usage and distribution; and

                     (c)  the ability of the remaining farming activities to adjust to climate change.

20  Interpretation

             (1)  In this Part, unless any contrary intention appears:

Minister means the Minister administering the Water Act 2007 .

National Water Security Plan for Towns and Cities means the program within the Government’s Water for the Future plan that upgrades older pipes and water systems, installs new infrastructure and provides for practical projects to save water and reduce water losses plan.

Restoring the Balance in the Murray-Darling Basin program means the program within the Government’s Water for the Future plan that establishes the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, develops a Basin Plan and purchases water to restore ecological systems in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Water for the Future is the strategy to secure the long term water supply of all Australians announced by the Minister for Water and Climate Change on 29 April 2008.

Water Plan means the Commonwealth Plan for the Murray-Darling Basin which comprises the amendments to the Water Act 2007 that gave effect to the Intergovernmental Agreement on Murray-Darling Basin Reform signed at the 3 July 2008 Council of Australian Governments meeting.

             (2)  A word or expression used in this Part that is also used in the Water Act 2007 has the same meaning as it has in that Act.

[Murray-Darling Basin stimulus measures]