The Coalition Government will seek the agreement of all Basin states for the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to carry out an independent Basin-wide review into compliance with state-based regulations governing water use.
The MDBA will provide its report to COAG by December 2017.
Over recent months significant milestones have been achieved in the delivery of the Basin Plan, with the June 2017 meeting of COAG having endorsed an approach to ensuring the Plan is implemented on time and in full.
While the Government is confident about COAG's implementation plan, it is important that Basin communities and all Australians have confidence that the rules that underpin fair and lawful water use throughout the Basin are being followed.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, will write this week to all Basin water ministers seeking their agreement to terms of reference for a strategic review of compliance and enforcement regimes in the Murray Darling Basin.
We expect that, as part of their agreement to the review, Basin water ministers will commit to providing the MDBA with ready access to all relevant information and the full support and cooperation of relevant state officials.
Strong compliance regimes are just as important for irrigators as they are for the environment and Basin communities. The vast majority of the irrigation sector follow the rules attached to their water licenses, and the Coalition Government remains strongly committed to supporting this innovative and productive industry.