Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

A Bill for an Act to amend the Water Act 2007, and for related purposes
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Registered 14 Feb 2019
Introduced Senate 13 Feb 2019

 

 

 

 

2016-2017-2018-2019

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

WATER AMENDMENT (PURCHASE LIMIT REPEAL) BILL 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Senator Pratt)

 


WATER AMENDMENT (PURCHASE LIMIT REPEAL) BILL 2019

 

OUTLINE

The Water Amendment (Purchase Limit Repeal) Bill 2019 (the Bill) proposes to amend the Water Act 2007 (the Act) to repeal the statutory limit of 1,500 gigalitres on Commonwealth purchases of surface water across the Murray-Darling Basin.

In 2016 the Act was amended to limit water buybacks to 1,500 gigalitres based on the Government’s Water Recovery Strategy for the Murray-Darling Basin. The limit on buyback was never part of the original Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Removing the limit will mean that if a review of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, or of the 605 gigalitre ‘supply projects’, demonstrates the need for more water purchases then there is no legislative barrier to being able to achieve that policy.

The legislation means the Government has options in regard to any advice of the independent Murray-Darling Basin Authority that  recommends that more water is required to return the system to health, or if the ‘supply projects’ won’t deliver the expected environmental outcomes.

The recent fish kills in the Murray-Darling Basin, the Productivity Commission review of the Murray-Darling Basin and the South Australian Royal Commission all highlight that as many options as possible are required to restore the system to health. Removing the cap on buybacks adds this option should it be required.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

There is no immediate or direct financial impact of this Bill. The implementation of the Murray Darling Basin plan is an already announced budget measure, funded through prior financial years.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

Clause 1: Short Title

 

1.                       Clause 1 is a formal provision specifying the short title of the Bill.

 

Clause 2: Commencement

 

2.                  Sections 1 to 3 will commence the day this Bill receives the Royal Assent. Schedule 1 will commence the day after the Bill receives Royal Assent.

 


Clause 3: Schedules

 

3.                  Each Act specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as is set out in the applicable items in the Schedule. Any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.

 

Schedule 1—Amendments

 

Water Act 2007

 

Division 5 of Part 2

 

4.                       This item provides for the repeal of Division 5 of Part 2 of the Water Act 2007. Division 5 of Part 2 contains three substantive sections, which establish the limit and clarify which contracts are to be included within the limit on water purchases.


STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

 

Water Amendment (Purchase Limit Repeal) Bill 2019

 

This Bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.

 

Overview of the Bill

The Water Amendment (Purchase Limit Repeal) Bill 2019 (the Bill) will amend the Water Act 2007 (the Act), to repeal Division 5 of Part 2, which establishes the 1,500 gigalitre limit on water purchases by the Commonwealth.

Human Rights Implications

The human rights implications of this Bill must be considered in the context of the Act. The overall framework of the Act supports access to sufficient, safe, acceptable and physically accessible water for personal and domestic uses. This is reflected in the Act, which sets out the purpose of the Basin Plan itself, and the existing responsibilities of Basin States, to protect human water needs across the Basin. The Bill enhances these rights, as it removes the limit on the total amount of water available to be purchased by the Commonwealth for the purposes of the Basin Plan.

Conclusion

This Bill is compatible with human rights. The Bill does not affect the human right to water

 

Senator Pratt