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Water Act 2007

Authoritative Version
Act No. 137 of 2007 as amended, taking into account amendments up to Water Legislation Amendment (Inspector-General of Water Compliance and Other Measures) Act 2021
An Act to make provision for the management of the water resources of the Murray-Darling Basin, and to make provision for other matters of national interest in relation to water and water information, and for related purposes
Administered by: Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Registered 03 Sep 2021
Start Date 05 Aug 2021
Table of contents.
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Collapse Part 1—PreliminaryPart 1—Preliminary
1 Short title
2 Commencement
3 Objects
4 Definitions
5 Application of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 to Parts 1A, 2A, 4, 4A, 10A and 11A
6 Planned environmental water
7 Infrastructure operators etc.
8 River flow control works
9 Constitutional basis for Act
9A Constitutional basis of Parts 1A, 2A, 4, 4A, 10A and 11A
10 Basis for Basin water charge, water trading and water market rules
11 Reading down provision in relation to the operation of sections 99 and 100 of the Constitution
12 Application to Crown etc.
12A Actions of the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council
13 The Native Title Act 1993 not affected
Expand Part 1A—The Murray-Darling Basin AgreementPart 1A—The Murray-Darling Basin Agreement
Expand Part 2—Management of Basin water resourcesPart 2—Management of Basin water resources
Expand Part 2AA—Water for the Environment Special AccountPart 2AA—Water for the Environment Special Account
Expand Part 2A—Critical human water needsPart 2A—Critical human water needs
Expand Part 3—Productivity Commission inquiriesPart 3—Productivity Commission inquiries
Expand Part 4—Basin water charge and water market rulesPart 4—Basin water charge and water market rules
Expand Part 4A—Extended operation of Basin water charge and water market rulesPart 4A—Extended operation of Basin water charge and water market rules
Expand Part 6—Commonwealth Environmental Water HolderPart 6—Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder
Expand Part 7—Water informationPart 7—Water information
Expand Part 8—EnforcementPart 8—Enforcement
Expand Part 9—Murray-Darling Basin Authority (administrative provisions)Part 9—Murray-Darling Basin Authority (administrative provisions)
Expand Part 9A—Inspector-General of Water Compliance (administrative provisions)Part 9A—Inspector-General of Water Compliance (administrative provisions)
Expand Part 10—Murray-Darling Basin Authority (special powers)Part 10—Murray-Darling Basin Authority (special powers)
Expand Part 10AA—Inspector-General of Water Compliance (special powers)Part 10AA—Inspector-General of Water Compliance (special powers)
Expand Part 10AB—Inspector-General of Water Compliance (inquiry powers)Part 10AB—Inspector-General of Water Compliance (inquiry powers)
Expand Part 10A—Transitional matters relating to the Murray-Darling Basin CommissionPart 10A—Transitional matters relating to the Murray-Darling Basin Commission
Expand Part 11—Transitional arrangements for water resource plansPart 11—Transitional arrangements for water resource plans
Expand Part 11A—Interactions with State lawsPart 11A—Interactions with State laws
Expand Part 12—MiscellaneousPart 12—Miscellaneous
Schedule 1—The Murray-Darling Basin Agreement
Schedule 1A—The Murray-Darling Basin
Expand Schedule 2—Basin water charging objectives and principlesSchedule 2—Basin water charging objectives and principles
Expand Schedule 3—Basin water market and trading objectives and principlesSchedule 3—Basin water market and trading objectives and principles
Expand Schedule 3A—Risk assignment frameworkSchedule 3A—Risk assignment framework
Schedule 4—Transitional water resource plans
Expand Schedule 10—Transitional provisions relating to amendmentsSchedule 10—Transitional provisions relating to amendments

Commonwealth Coat of Arms of Australia

Water Act 2007

No. 137, 2007

Compilation No. 28

Compilation date:                              5 August 2021

Includes amendments up to:            Act No. 74, 2021

Registered:                                         3 September 2021

About this compilation

This compilation

This is a compilation of the Water Act 2007 that shows the text of the law as amended and in force on 5 August 2021 (the compilation date).

The notes at the end of this compilation (the endnotes) include information about amending laws and the amendment history of provisions of the compiled law.

Uncommenced amendments

The effect of uncommenced amendments is not shown in the text of the compiled law. Any uncommenced amendments affecting the law are accessible on the Legislation Register (www.legislation.gov.au). The details of amendments made up to, but not commenced at, the compilation date are underlined in the endnotes. For more information on any uncommenced amendments, see the series page on the Legislation Register for the compiled law.

Application, saving and transitional provisions for provisions and amendments

If the operation of a provision or amendment of the compiled law is affected by an application, saving or transitional provision that is not included in this compilation, details are included in the endnotes.

Editorial changes

For more information about any editorial changes made in this compilation, see the endnotes.

Modifications

If the compiled law is modified by another law, the compiled law operates as modified but the modification does not amend the text of the law. Accordingly, this compilation does not show the text of the compiled law as modified. For more information on any modifications, see the series page on the Legislation Register for the compiled law.

Self‑repealing provisions

If a provision of the compiled law has been repealed in accordance with a provision of the law, details are included in the endnotes.

  

  

  


Contents

Part 1—Preliminary                                                                                                             1

1............ Short title............................................................................................. 1

2............ Commencement................................................................................... 1

3............ Objects................................................................................................ 2

4............ Definitions.......................................................................................... 3

5............ Application of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 to Parts 1A, 2A, 4, 4A, 10A and 11A           23

6............ Planned environmental water............................................................ 23

7............ Infrastructure operators etc................................................................ 24

8............ River flow control works.................................................................. 25

9............ Constitutional basis for Act............................................................... 26

9A......... Constitutional basis of Parts 1A, 2A, 4, 4A, 10A and 11A.............. 26

10.......... Basis for Basin water charge, water trading and water market rules. 28

11.......... Reading down provision in relation to the operation of sections 99 and 100 of the Constitution             30

12.......... Application to Crown etc.................................................................. 31

12A....... Actions of the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council................ 31

13.......... The Native Title Act 1993 not affected............................................... 32

Part 1A—The Murray‑Darling Basin Agreement                                           33

Division 1—Preliminary                                                                                            33

18A....... Definitions........................................................................................ 33

18B....... Meaning of referring State................................................................ 34

Division 2—The Murray‑Darling Basin Agreement                                  38

18C....... Amendment of Schedule 1................................................................ 38

18D....... Protocols made by the Authority....................................................... 38

Division 3—Functions, powers and duties under the Agreement        39

18E........ Additional functions, powers and duties of the Authority................. 39

18F........ Additional functions, powers and duties of the Basin Community Committee         41

18G....... Management of money and assets..................................................... 41

18H....... Managing water access rights etc. for the Living Murray Initiative... 41

Part 2—Management of Basin water resources                                                43

Division 1—Basin Plan                                                                                               43

Subdivision A—Introduction                                                                                 43

19.......... Simplified outline.............................................................................. 43

Subdivision B—Basin Plan, its purpose and contents                                     43

20.......... Purpose of Basin Plan....................................................................... 43

21.......... General basis on which Basin Plan to be developed......................... 44

22.......... Content of Basin Plan....................................................................... 47

23.......... Long‑term average sustainable diversion limits................................. 57

23A....... Proposing adjustments of long‑term average sustainable diversion limits                58

23B....... Adopting proposed adjustments as amendments of Basin Plan........ 61

24.......... Temporary diversion provision......................................................... 63

25.......... Water quality and salinity management plan...................................... 64

26.......... Water trading and transfer rules........................................................ 65

27.......... Basin Plan to be published on Authority’s website........................... 66

Subdivision C—Environmental management                                                  66

28.......... Environmental watering plan............................................................. 66

29.......... Authority to consult holders and managers of environmental water in implementing environmental watering plan 68

30.......... Environmental watering schedules.................................................... 68

31.......... Authority to coordinate delivery of environmental water.................. 68

32.......... Authority to identify and account for held environmental water........ 68

Subdivision D—Effect of Basin Plan                                                                  69

33.......... Basin Plan is a legislative instrument................................................ 69

34.......... Effect of Basin Plan on Authority and other agencies of the Commonwealth          69

35.......... Effect of Basin Plan on other agencies and persons.......................... 70

36.......... Constitutional operation of section 35 (general)................................ 70

37.......... Constitutional operation of section 35 (water trading rules).............. 71

38.......... Regulations may provide for exceptions........................................... 72

39.......... Obligations under both Basin Plan and water resource plans............ 72

40.......... Effect on State laws........................................................................... 73

Subdivision E—Procedure for making Basin Plan                                         73

41.......... Authority to prepare Basin Plan and give to Minister for adoption... 73

42.......... Consultations by Authority in preparing Basin Plan......................... 73

43.......... Authority to seek submissions on proposed Basin Plan................... 74

43A....... Authority to seek comments from Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council on proposed Basin Plan  76

44.......... Minister may adopt Basin Plan......................................................... 78

Subdivision F—Amendment of Basin Plan                                                        80

45.......... Authority may prepare amendment of Basin Plan............................. 80

46.......... Consultations by Authority in preparing amendment of Basin Plan.. 80

47.......... Authority to seek submissions on proposed amendment of Basin Plan 81

47A....... Authority to seek comments from Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council on proposed amendment of Basin Plan.......................................................................................................... 83

48.......... Minister may adopt amendment of Basin Plan.................................. 85

49.......... Minor or non‑substantive amendments of Basin Plan....................... 87

49AA.... Amendment of the Basin Plan that is the same in effect as an amendment that has been disallowed        87

Subdivision G—Review of Basin Plan                                                                89

49A....... Authority to advise Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council on impacts of Basin Plan       89

50.......... Review of Basin Plan—general........................................................ 89

51.......... Authority to prepare discussion paper and seek submissions........... 90

52.......... Review may lead to amendment of Basin Plan.................................. 92

Subdivision H—Annual analysis of Basin Plan’s effectiveness                    93

52A....... Annual analysis of Basin Plan’s effectiveness.................................. 93

Division 2—Water resource plans for particular water resource plan areas   94

Subdivision A—Introduction                                                                                 94

53.......... Simplified outline.............................................................................. 94

Subdivision B—Water resource plans                                                                94

54.......... Water resource plans for water resource plan areas........................... 94

55.......... Content of water resource plan.......................................................... 95

56.......... General basis for accrediting and making water resource plans........ 95

Subdivision C—Effect of a water resource plan                                              98

57.......... Water resource plan adopted under section 69 is a legislative instrument 98

58.......... Effect of water resource plan on Authority and other agencies of the Commonwealth             98

59.......... Effect of water resource plan on other agencies and bodies.............. 99

60.......... Constitutional operation of section 59 (general)................................ 99

61.......... Constitutional operation of section 59 (water trading rules)............ 100

62.......... Regulations may provide for exceptions......................................... 101

Subdivision D—Accrediting water resource plans prepared by Basin States 101

63.......... Accrediting water resource plans prepared by Basin States............ 101

63A....... Googong Dam Area to be treated as if located in the Australian Capital Territory   103

64.......... Duration of accreditation................................................................. 103

65.......... Accrediting amendments of accredited water resource plans........... 104

66.......... Accrediting minor or non‑substantive amendments of accredited water resource plans           106

67.......... Authority may assist Basin State to prepare water resource plan.... 107

Subdivision E—Water resource plans prepared by Authority and adopted by Minister            107

68.......... Minister may request Authority to prepare water resource plan...... 107

69.......... Minister may adopt water resource plan.......................................... 109

70.......... Duration of plan adopted under section 69...................................... 111

Subdivision F—Reporting obligations                                                              111

71.......... Reporting obligations of Basin States............................................. 111

Division 3—Procedures to be followed before taking step‑in action 113

72.......... Scope of Division........................................................................... 113

73.......... Procedure to be followed before exercising step‑in power.............. 113

Division 3A—Offences and civil penalty provisions                                118

Subdivision A—Contraventions of laws relating to taking water from a water resource           118

73A....... Taking water when not permitted under State law—basic contravention  118

73B....... Taking water when not permitted under State law—aggravated contravention         120

73C....... Constitutional basis of sections 73A and 73B................................. 124

73D....... Additional operation of sections 73A and 73B............................... 124

73E........ Restrictions on taking action under Part 8 or 10AA in relation to alleged contravention of section 73A or 73B      125

Subdivision B—Contraventions of the Basin Plan                                        127

73F........ Failing to give reasons for restricting trade of water delivery right as required by the Basin Plan            127

73G....... Failing to report price for trade of water access right as required by the Basin Plan 127

73H....... Trading water access right before water announcement made or generally available in contravention of the Basin Plan........................................................................................................ 128

73J........ Application of sections 73F to 73H................................................ 129

73K....... Additional application of section 73H............................................. 130

Division 3B—Audits                                                                                                  131

73L........ Audits............................................................................................. 131

73M...... Responses to audit reports including recommendations that an agency take certain action       131

Division 4—Allocation of risks in relation to reductions in water availability  133

Subdivision A—Risks arising from reductions in diversion limits            133

74.......... Simplified outline............................................................................ 133

74A....... States applying the risk assignment framework.............................. 134

75.......... Basin Plan to specify Commonwealth share of reduction in long‑term average sustainable diversion limit             134

76.......... Commonwealth to manage Commonwealth share of reduction in diversion limit    137

77.......... Payments to water access entitlement holders................................. 138

78.......... Applying Subdivision when transitional or interim water resource plan ends          141

79.......... Regulations..................................................................................... 142

Subdivision B—Risks arising from other changes to Basin Plan              143

80.......... Simplified outline............................................................................ 143

81.......... Basin Plan to specify certain matters if Plan results in change in reliability of water allocations              144

82.......... Commonwealth to manage Commonwealth share of change in reliability                145

83.......... Payments to water access entitlement holders................................. 145

84.......... Applying Subdivision when transitional or interim water resource plan ends          149

85.......... Regulations..................................................................................... 150

85A....... Operation of Subdivision................................................................ 150

Division 5—1,500 gigalitre limit on water purchases                             152

85B....... Simplified outline of this Division.................................................. 152

85C....... 1,500 gigalitre limit on water purchases.......................................... 152

85D....... Validity of contracts........................................................................ 154

Part 2AA—Water for the Environment Special Account                        155

86AA.... Object of this Part........................................................................... 155

86AB.... Water for the Environment Special Account................................... 157

86AC.... Credits to the Water for the Environment Special Account............. 157

86AD.... Purposes of the Water for the Environment Special Account.......... 158

86AE..... Commonwealth environmental water holdings............................... 160

86AF..... Arrangements to make payments.................................................... 160

86AG.... Amounts to be credited to the Water for the Environment Special Account             161

86AI...... Annual report.................................................................................. 161

86AJ..... Reviews of this Part........................................................................ 163

Part 2A—Critical human water needs                                                                  165

86A....... Critical human water needs to be taken into account in developing Basin Plan        165

86B....... Basin Plan to provide for critical human water needs...................... 166

86C....... Additional matters relating to monitoring, assessment and risk management           167

86D....... Additional matters relating to Tier 2 water sharing arrangements.... 167

86E........ Additional matters relating to Tier 3 water sharing arrangements.... 169

86F........ Emergency responses to the reaching of trigger points................... 170

86G....... Effect of this Part on Authority and other agencies of the Commonwealth              171

86H....... Effect of this Part on other agencies and persons............................ 171

86J........ Additional powers of the Authority................................................ 172

86K....... Additional functions of the Inspector‑General................................ 173

86L........ Functions and powers of the Inspector‑General.............................. 175

Part 3—Productivity Commission inquiries                                                      176

87.......... Productivity Commission inquiry—Basin Plan and water resource plans                176

88.......... Productivity Commission inquiry—National Water Initiative......... 177

89.......... Stakeholder working group............................................................. 179

Part 4—Basin water charge and water market rules                                  181

Division 1—Water charge rules                                                                         181

91.......... Regulated water charges.................................................................. 181

92.......... Water charge rules........................................................................... 182

93.......... Process for making water charge rules............................................ 185

94.......... ACCC to monitor water charges and compliance............................ 186

95.......... Minister may formulate model water charge rules........................... 186

96.......... Transitional provisions relating to water charge rules..................... 186

Division 2—Water market rules                                                                         188

97.......... Water market rules.......................................................................... 188

98.......... Process for making water market rules........................................... 190

99.......... ACCC to monitor transformation arrangements and compliance.... 191

100........ Transitional provisions relating to water market rules..................... 192

Division 3—Miscellaneous                                                                                     193

100A..... Functions and powers of the ACCC............................................... 193

Part 4A—Extended operation of Basin water charge and water market rules   194

100B..... Extended operation of Basin water charge rules.............................. 194

100C..... Extended operation of Basin water market rules............................. 195

100D..... Functions and powers of the ACCC............................................... 196

Part 6—Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder                            197

Division 1—Establishment and functions                                                       197

104........ Establishment.................................................................................. 197

105........ Functions........................................................................................ 197

106........ Limitation on disposal of water and Commonwealth environmental water holdings                199

107........ Limitation on directions to Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder                201

108........ Meaning of Commonwealth environmental water holdings........... 201

109........ Operating rules................................................................................ 202

110........ Application of State laws to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder        203

Division 2—Environmental Water Holdings Special Account           204

111........ Establishment of the Environmental Water Holdings Special Account 204

112........ Credits of amounts to the Account.................................................. 204

113........ Purpose of the Account................................................................... 205

Division 3—Reporting requirements                                                                206

114........ Annual report.................................................................................. 206

Division 4—Appointment, staff and delegation                                          208

115........ Appointment................................................................................... 208

116........ Staff................................................................................................ 208

117........ Delegation....................................................................................... 208

Part 7—Water information                                                                                          209

Division 1—Application of this Part                                                                 209

118........ Geographical application of this Part............................................... 209

119........ Application of this Part limited to certain legislative powers........... 209

Division 2—Functions and powers of the Bureau and Director of Meteorology             210

120........ Additional functions of the Bureau................................................. 210

121........ Contents of the National Water Account......................................... 210

122........ Publishing water accounts............................................................... 210

123........ Publishing water information.......................................................... 211

Division 3—Water information                                                                           212

124........ Object of this Division.................................................................... 212

125........ Meaning of water information etc................................................... 212

126........ Giving of water information to the Bureau...................................... 212

127........ Director of Meteorology may require water information................. 213

128........ Prohibitions on disclosure of information do not apply.................. 214

129........ Ownership etc. of information unaffected by its disclosure............ 214

Division 4—National Water Information Standards                               215

130........ National Water Information Standards............................................ 215

131........ Adoption of other standards............................................................ 215

132........ Consultations in preparing National Water Information Standards. 216

133........ Compliance notices......................................................................... 216

Division 5—Miscellaneous                                                                                     217

134........ Delegation by Director of Meteorology.......................................... 217

135........ Directions by Minister.................................................................... 217

Part 8—Enforcement                                                                                                       218

Division 1—Preliminary                                                                                          218

136........ Contraventions to which this Part applies....................................... 218

137........ Appropriate enforcement agency for contraventions to which this Part applies        218

138........ References to Court......................................................................... 219

139........ Jurisdiction of Federal Circuit Court............................................... 219

Division 2—Injunctions                                                                                           220

140........ Grant of injunctions........................................................................ 220

141........ Discharge or variation of injunctions.............................................. 221

142........ Certain considerations for granting injunctions not relevant............ 221

143........ Powers conferred are in addition to other powers of the Court....... 222

Division 3—Declarations                                                                                        223

144........ Declarations of contravention.......................................................... 223

145........ Discharge or variation of declarations............................................. 223

Division 4—Civil penalties                                                                                     224

Subdivision A—Civil penalty orders                                                                 224

146........ Civil penalty provisions.................................................................. 224

147........ Court may order person to pay pecuniary penalty for contravening civil penalty provision     224

148........ Multiple contraventions................................................................... 226

148A..... Proceedings may be heard together................................................. 226

149........ Civil evidence and procedure rules for pecuniary penalty orders.... 227

150........ Recovery of a pecuniary penalty..................................................... 227

Subdivision B—Civil penalty proceedings and criminal proceedings     227

151........ Civil proceedings after criminal proceedings................................... 227

152........ Criminal proceedings during civil proceedings............................... 227

153........ Criminal proceedings after civil proceedings................................... 228

154........ Evidence given in proceedings for penalty not admissible in criminal proceedings  228

Subdivision C—Miscellaneous                                                                            228

154A..... Ancillary contravention of civil penalty provisions......................... 228

154B..... Continuing contraventions of civil penalty provisions.................... 229

154C..... State of mind................................................................................... 229

154D..... Mistake of fact................................................................................ 230

154E...... Exceptions etc. to civil penalty provisions—burden of proof.......... 231

Division 5—Infringement notices                                                                       232

155........ Object.............................................................................................. 232

155A..... Relevant chief executive.................................................................. 232

156........ When an infringement notice can be given...................................... 232

157........ Matters to be included in an infringement notice............................. 233

158........ Extension of time to pay amount..................................................... 235

159........ Withdrawal of an infringement notice............................................. 236

160........ Paying the penalty in accordance with the notice............................. 237

161........ Effect of this Division on civil proceedings.................................... 238

162........ Regulations..................................................................................... 238

Division 6—Enforceable undertakings                                                            239

163........ Acceptance of undertakings relating to contraventions to which this Part applies    239

164........ Enforcement of undertakings.......................................................... 240

Division 7—Enforcement notices                                                                       241

165........ Inspector‑General may issue an enforcement notice........................ 241

166........ Failing to comply with enforcement notice...................................... 243

167........ Discharge or variation of enforcement notices................................ 244

Division 7A—Public warning notices                                                               245

167A..... Inspector‑General may issue public warning notice........................ 245

Division 8—Liability of executive officers of corporations                 246

168........ Civil penalties for executive officers of bodies corporate................ 246

169........ Did an executive officer take reasonable steps to prevent contravention? 246

Division 9—Conduct of directors, employees and agents                     248

170........ Conduct of directors, employees and agents................................... 248

Division 10—General rules about offences and civil penalty provisions              251

170A..... Physical elements of offences......................................................... 251

170B..... Contravening an offence provision or a civil penalty provision...... 251

Part 9—Murray‑Darling Basin Authority (administrative provisions) 252

Division 1—Authority’s establishment, functions, powers and liabilities              252

171........ Establishment.................................................................................. 252

172........ Authority’s functions...................................................................... 252

173........ Authority’s powers......................................................................... 255

174........ Amounts payable by the Commonwealth........................................ 256

175........ Minister may give directions to Authority....................................... 256

Division 2—Authority’s constitution and membership                           258

Subdivision A—Authority’s constitution                                                          258

176........ Authority’s constitution.................................................................. 258

Subdivision B—Authority’s membership                                                         258

177........ Authority’s membership................................................................. 258

178........ Appointment of Authority members............................................... 259

179........ Period of appointment for Authority members................................ 260

180........ Acting Authority members.............................................................. 261

Subdivision C—Terms and conditions for Authority members                 263

181........ Remuneration.................................................................................. 263

182........ Disclosure of interests..................................................................... 263

185........ Outside employment....................................................................... 264

186........ Member of the governing body of a relevant interest group............ 264

187........ Leave of absence............................................................................. 264

188........ Resignation..................................................................................... 264

189........ Termination of appointment............................................................ 265

190........ Other terms and conditions............................................................. 266

Division 3—Decision‑making and delegation by Authority                 267

Subdivision A—Meetings                                                                                     267

191........ Holding of meetings........................................................................ 267

192........ Presiding at meetings...................................................................... 267

193........ Quorum........................................................................................... 267

194........ Decisions at meetings etc................................................................ 268

195........ Conduct of meetings....................................................................... 268

196........ Minutes........................................................................................... 268

Subdivision B—Decisions without meetings                                                    268

197........ Decisions without meetings............................................................ 268

198........ Record of decisions......................................................................... 269

Subdivision C—Delegation                                                                                  269

199........ Delegation by Authority.................................................................. 269

200........ Limits on how some functions and powers can be delegated.......... 270

Subdivision D—Basin Officials Committee                                                    271

201........ Basin Officials Committee.............................................................. 271

201A..... Appointment of Chair of the Basin Officials Committee................. 271

201B..... Acting Chair of the Basin Officials Committee............................... 271

201C..... Period of appointment for Chair of the Basin Officials Committee. 272

Subdivision E—Other advisory committees                                                   273

202........ Basin Community Committee......................................................... 273

203........ Other advisory committees.............................................................. 274

204........ Appointments to advisory committees............................................ 275

205........ Procedural matters........................................................................... 275

Division 4—Authority’s staff etc.                                                                       277

206........ Staff................................................................................................ 277

207........ Persons assisting Authority............................................................ 277

208........ Chief Executive not to be directed about certain matters.................. 277

208A..... Chief Executive is accountable authority......................................... 278

Division 5—Finance and reporting requirements                                     279

Subdivision A—Murray‑Darling Basin Special Account                             279

209........ Murray‑Darling Basin Special Account.......................................... 279

210........ Credits to the Account..................................................................... 279

211........ Purposes of the Account................................................................. 280

211A..... Operation of earlier transitional provision....................................... 280

Subdivision B—Authority may charge fees                                                    280

212........ Fees................................................................................................. 280

Subdivision C—Exemption from taxation and charges etc.                       281

213........ Exemption from taxation and charges etc........................................ 281

Subdivision CA—Corporate plan                                                                      282

213A..... Corporate plan................................................................................. 282

213B..... Variation of corporate plan.............................................................. 282

Subdivision D—Reporting requirements                                                         282

214........ Annual report.................................................................................. 282

Division 6—Confidentiality                                                                                   284

215........ Protection of confidential information............................................. 284

215A..... Disclosure of information to the Minister or the Secretary of the Department          285

Part 9A—Inspector‑General of Water Compliance (administrative provisions)                287

Division 1—Inspector‑General of Water Compliance: establishment and functions     287

215B..... Inspector‑General of Water Compliance......................................... 287

215C..... Functions of the Inspector‑General................................................. 287

215D..... Minister may give directions to Inspector‑General.......................... 290

Division 2—Annual work plans                                                                           291

215E...... Inspector‑General must prepare annual work plan.......................... 291

215F...... Review of annual work plan........................................................... 291

215G..... Variation of annual work plan......................................................... 291

Division 3—Administrative provisions                                                            293

215J...... Appointment................................................................................... 293

215JA... Acting appointments....................................................................... 293

215K..... Term of office................................................................................. 294

215KA.. Application of finance law.............................................................. 294

215L...... Remuneration.................................................................................. 294

215LA... Leave of absence for Inspector‑General.......................................... 295

215M.... Engaging in other paid work........................................................... 295

215N..... Disclosure of interests..................................................................... 295

215P...... Other terms and conditions............................................................. 295

215Q..... Resignation..................................................................................... 295

215R..... Termination of appointment............................................................ 296

215S...... Staff and persons assisting the Inspector‑General........................... 297

Division 4—Advisory panels                                                                                 298

215T...... Advisory panels.............................................................................. 298

215TA... Appointment of advisory panels..................................................... 298

215TB... Procedural matters........................................................................... 299

Division 5—Confidentiality                                                                                   300

215U..... Protection of confidential information............................................. 300

215UA.. Disclosure of information to the Authority, the Minister or the Secretary of the Department   301

215UB.. Disclosure for purposes of enforcement or administration of Commonwealth or State laws   302

215UC.. Commonwealth agency may disclose information to the Inspector‑General             303

215UD.. Information disclosed must not identify individual who wishes to remain anonymous            303

Division 6—Guidelines and standards                                                             304

215V..... Inspector‑General may issue guidelines.......................................... 304

215VA.. Inspector‑General may issue standards relating to measuring water taken from Basin water resources and data related to water trading................................................................................... 305

215VB.. Consultation in preparing guidelines or standards........................... 305

Division 7—Miscellaneous                                                                                     306

215W.... Delegation....................................................................................... 306

215X..... Protection from liability................................................................... 307

215Y..... Annual report.................................................................................. 308

215Z...... Review of the role of the Inspector‑General.................................... 308

Part 10—Murray‑Darling Basin Authority (special powers)                  310

Division 2—Entry onto land etc.                                                                        310

Subdivision A—Authorised officers                                                                  310

217........ Appointment of authorised officers................................................. 310

218........ Identity cards................................................................................... 311

Subdivision B—Powers to enter land etc.                                                         311

219........ When authorised officers can enter premises.................................. 311

220........ Obligations of authorised officers before entering premises........... 312

221........ Powers of authorised officers while on premises............................ 313

222........ Duties of authorised officers........................................................... 314

Subdivision C—Other matters                                                                            314

222A..... Privilege against self‑incrimination and legal professional privilege not abrogated  314

222B..... Occupier entitled to be present during entry.................................... 315

222C..... Obstructing authorised officers....................................................... 315

Division 3—Information gathering                                                                   316

222D..... Power to require information.......................................................... 316

222E...... Prohibitions on disclosure of information do not apply.................. 317

Part 10AA—Inspector‑General of Water Compliance (special powers) 318

Division 1—Entry onto land etc.                                                                        318

Subdivision A—Authorised compliance officers                                           318

222G..... Appointment of authorised compliance officers.............................. 318

222H..... Identity cards................................................................................... 319

Subdivision B—Powers to enter land etc. for compliance purposes         320

223........ Entering premises to monitor compliance........................................ 320

223A..... Securing evidence of a contravention.............................................. 321

223B..... Asking questions and seeking production of documents................ 322

224........ Entering premises to search for evidential material.......................... 323

224A..... Asking questions and seeking production of documents................ 324

225........ Monitoring warrants....................................................................... 325

226........ Investigation warrants..................................................................... 326

227........ Investigation warrants by telephone, telex, fax etc.......................... 328

227A..... Persons assisting authorised compliance officers............................ 330

229........ Obligations of authorised compliance officers—entry by consent.. 331

230........ Obligations of authorised compliance officers—entry by warrant.. 331

231........ Use of equipment at premises......................................................... 333

232........ Expert assistance to operate equipment at premises......................... 334

232A..... Extension of periods in which things secured................................. 335

233........ Compensation for damage............................................................... 336

233A..... Completing execution of warrant after temporary cessation............ 337

233B..... Completing execution of warrant stopped by court order................ 339

233C..... Responsibility to provide facilities and assistance........................... 339

233D..... Copies of seized things to be provided............................................ 339

233E...... Receipts for seized things................................................................ 340

233F...... Return of seized things.................................................................... 340

233G..... Magistrate may permit a thing to be retained................................... 341

233H..... Disposal of things........................................................................... 342

234........ Offences relating to warrants.......................................................... 342

Subdivision C—Powers of magistrates                                                             343

235........ Powers of magistrates..................................................................... 343

Subdivision D—Other matters                                                                            344

236........ Division not to abrogate privilege against self‑incrimination or legal professional privilege    344

237........ Occupier entitled to be present during entry.................................... 344

237A..... Obstructing authorised compliance officers.................................... 345

Division 3—Information gathering                                                                   346

238........ Power to require information.......................................................... 346

239........ Prohibitions on disclosure of information do not apply.................. 348

Part 10AB—Inspector‑General of Water Compliance (inquiry powers)                349

239AA.. Inspector‑General may conduct inquiry.......................................... 349

239AB.. Terms of reference for inquiry........................................................ 350

239AC.. Inspector‑General may require person to give information for the purpose of certain inquiries               350

239AD.. Inspector‑General may require person to appear to answer questions for the purpose of certain inquiries               352

239AE... Reports by Inspector‑General......................................................... 354

239AF... Responses to inquiry reports including recommendations that an agency take certain action   354

239AG.. Including criticism in reports........................................................... 355

239AH.. Privilege against self‑incrimination and legal professional privilege not abrogated  356

Part 10A—Transitional matters relating to the Murray‑Darling Basin Commission      357

Division 1—Preliminary                                                                                          357

239A..... Definitions...................................................................................... 357

239B..... Application of this Part................................................................... 357

Division 2—Assets, liabilities and legal proceedings                                358

239C..... Vesting of assets of Murray‑Darling Basin Commission............... 358

239D..... River Murray Operations assets unaffected.................................... 358

239E...... Living Murray Initiative assets unaffected...................................... 359

239F...... Vesting of liabilities of Murray‑Darling Basin Commission........... 360

239G..... Certificates relating to vesting of land etc........................................ 360

239H..... Certificates relating to vesting of assets other than land etc............. 361

239J...... Substitution of Authority as a party to pending proceedings........... 362

239K..... Rights to sue President or Commissioner become rights to sue Authority               362

239L...... President’s or Commissioner’s rights to sue become rights of Authority                363

239M.... Transfer of custody of Murray‑Darling Basin Commission records 363

Division 3—Effect on instruments and things done                                  364

239N..... References in certain instruments to Murray‑Darling Basin Commission etc.          364

239P...... Things done by, or in relation to, the Murray‑Darling Basin Commission etc. under Acts and instruments            366

239Q..... Things done under the former MDB Agreement............................ 367

239R..... Continuation of committees established by Murray‑Darling Basin Commission     368

239S...... Continuation of Murray‑Darling Basin Commission’s corporate plan 369

Division 4—Financial matters                                                                              370

239T...... Financial matters............................................................................. 370

Division 5—Miscellaneous                                                                                     371

239U..... Exemption from stamp duty and other State or Territory taxes....... 371

239V..... Certificates taken to be authentic..................................................... 371

239W.... Regulations..................................................................................... 372

Part 11—Transitional arrangements for water resource plans             373

241........ Transitional water resource plans.................................................... 373

242........ Interim water resource plans........................................................... 373

243........ Transitional water resource plans taken to have been accredited..... 374

244........ Interim water resource plans taken to have been accredited............. 375

245........ Operation of transitional water resource plans and interim water resource plans      375

246........ Amendment of transitional water resource plans and interim water resource plans  376

247........ Authority may provide assistance................................................... 376

Part 11A—Interactions with State laws                                                               378

250A..... Meaning of Commonwealth water legislation................................ 378

250B..... Concurrent operation intended........................................................ 378

250C..... Commonwealth water legislation does not apply to matters declared by law of referring State to be excluded matters........................................................................................................ 378

250D..... Avoiding direct inconsistency arising between the Commonwealth water legislation and laws of referring States  380

250E...... Regulations may modify operation of the Commonwealth water legislation to deal with interaction between that legislation and laws of referring States............................................ 381

Part 12—Miscellaneous                                                                                                  383

251........ Delegation by Minister.................................................................... 383

252........ Instruments not invalid for failure to publish on website................ 384

252A..... Dataset for Murray‑Darling Basin to be publicly available............. 384

253........ Review of operation of Act............................................................. 384

254........ Compensation for acquisition of property....................................... 385

255........ Act does not authorise compulsory acquisition of water access rights 385

255A..... Application of water charge rules in Basin States that are not referring States         385

255B..... Application of water market rules in Basin States that are not referring States         386

255C..... Transitional provisions relating to amendments.............................. 387

256........ Regulations..................................................................................... 387

Schedule 1—The Murray‑Darling Basin Agreement           389

Schedule 1A—The Murray‑Darling Basin                                     661

Schedule 2—Basin water charging objectives and principles              662

Part 1—Preliminary                                                                                                         662

1............ Objectives and principles................................................................ 662

Part 2—Water charging objectives                                                                         663

2............ Water charging objectives............................................................... 663

Part 3—Water charging principles                                                                         664

3............ Water storage and delivery.............................................................. 664

4............ Cost recovery for planning and management.................................. 665

5............ Environmental externalities............................................................. 665

6............ Benchmarking and efficiency reviews............................................. 665

Schedule 3—Basin water market and trading objectives and principles                667

1............ Definitions...................................................................................... 667

2............ Objectives and principles................................................................ 667

3............ Basin water market and trading objectives...................................... 668

4............ Basin water market and trading principles....................................... 668

Schedule 3A—Risk assignment framework                                   672

Part 1—Clauses 48 to 50 of the National Water Initiative                        672

Part 2—Clause 10.1.3 of the Agreement on Murray‑Darling Basin Reform of 3 July 2008       673

Schedule 4—Transitional water resource plans                         674

Schedule 10—Transitional provisions relating to amendments        677

Part 1—Transitional provisions relating to the Water Amendment Act 2018      677

1............ Application of amendments............................................................. 677

2............ Transitional..................................................................................... 677

Part 2—Transitional provisions relating to the Water Legislation Amendment (Inspector‑General of Water Compliance and Other Measures) Act 2021                   679

Division 1—Amendments to Schedule 1 to this Act made by regulations             679

1............ Application of amendments—amendments to Schedule 1 to this Act made by regulations      679

Division 2—Other amendments                                                                          680

2............ Definitions...................................................................................... 680

3............ Appropriate enforcement agency..................................................... 680

4............ Legal proceedings involving the Murray‑Darling Basin Authority. 680

5............ Enforceable undertakings................................................................ 681

6............ Enforcement notices........................................................................ 681

7............ Public warning notices.................................................................... 681

8............ Offences and civil penalty provisions............................................. 682

9............ Credits to the Murray‑Darling Basin Special Account.................... 682

10.......... Disclosure of information by the Authority.................................... 682

11.......... Inquiry may relate to matters occurring before, on or after commencement day       682

12.......... Inspector‑General’s first annual work plan..................................... 683

13.......... Inspector‑General’s compliance powers......................................... 683

14.......... Declaration by the Authority before commencement day relating to restrictions on trading water access right        683

15.......... Declaration by the Authority before commencement day permitting application of exchange rate to trade of water access entitlement....................................................................................... 684

16.......... Audits............................................................................................. 684

17.......... Regulations may provide for other transitional matters relating to the Inspector‑General         685

Endnotes                                                                                                                                  686

Endnote 1—About the endnotes                                                                          686

Endnote 2—Abbreviation key                                                                              688

Endnote 3—Legislation history                                                                           689

Endnote 4—Amendment history                                                                         694

Endnote 5—Editorial changes                                                                             713


An Act to make provision for the management of the water resources of the Murray‑Darling Basin, and to make provision for other matters of national interest in relation to water and water information, and for related purposes

Part 1Preliminary

  

1  Short title

                   This Act may be cited as the Water Act 2007.

2  Commencement

             (1)  Each provision of this Act specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

 

Commencement information

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Provision(s)

Commencement

Date/Details

1.  Sections 1 and 2 and anything in this Act not elsewhere covered by this table

The day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent.

3 September 2007

2.  Sections 3 to 256 and Schedules 1 to 4

A day or days to be fixed by Proclamation.

However, if any of the provision(s) do not commence within the period of 6 months beginning on the day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent, they commence on the first day after the end of that period.

3 March 2008

Note:          This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally passed by both Houses of the Parliament and assented to. It will not be expanded to deal with provisions inserted in this Act after assent.

             (2)  Column 3 of the table contains additional information that is not part of this Act. Information in this column may be added to or edited in any published version of this Act.

3  Objects

                   The objects of this Act are:

                     (a)  to enable the Commonwealth, in conjunction with the Basin States, to manage the Basin water resources in the national interest; and

                     (b)  to give effect to relevant international agreements (to the extent to which those agreements are relevant to the use and management of the Basin water resources) and, in particular, to provide for special measures, in accordance with those agreements, to address the threats to the Basin water resources; and

                     (c)  in giving effect to those agreements, to promote the use and management of the Basin water resources in a way that optimises economic, social and environmental outcomes; and

                     (d)  without limiting paragraph (b) or (c):

                              (i)  to ensure the return to environmentally sustainable levels of extraction for water resources that are overallocated or overused; and

                             (ii)  to protect, restore and provide for the ecological values and ecosystem services of the Murray‑Darling Basin (taking into account, in particular, the impact that the taking of water has on the watercourses, lakes, wetlands, ground water and water‑dependent ecosystems that are part of the Basin water resources and on associated biodiversity); and

                            (iii)  subject to subparagraphs (i) and (ii)—to maximise the net economic returns to the Australian community from the use and management of the Basin water resources; and

                     (e)  to improve water security for all uses of Basin water resources; and

                      (f)  to ensure that the management of the Basin water resources takes into account the broader management of natural resources in the Murray‑Darling Basin; and

                     (g)  to achieve efficient and cost effective water management and administrative practices in relation to Basin water resources; and

                     (h)  to provide for the collection, collation, analysis and dissemination of information about:

                              (i)  Australia’s water resources; and

                             (ii)  the use and management of water in Australia.

4  Definitions

             (1)  In this Act:

ACCC means the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

affects water resource plan accreditations, in relation to an amendment of the Basin Plan, has the meaning given by subsection 48(8).

agency of the Commonwealth means:

                     (a)  a Minister of the Crown for the Commonwealth; or

                     (b)  a Department of State for the Commonwealth; or

                     (c)  a body (whether incorporated or not) established or appointed for a public purpose by or under a law of the Commonwealth; or

                     (d)  a body established, or appointed, by the Governor‑General; or

                     (e)  a person holding or performing the duties of:

                              (i)  an office established by or under; or

                             (ii)  an appointment made under;

                            a law of the Commonwealth (other than the office of head of a Department of State for the Commonwealth (however described)); or

                      (f)  a person holding or performing the duties of an appointment that is made by the Governor‑General (otherwise than under a law of the Commonwealth); or

                     (g)  a company in which the Commonwealth, or a body corporate referred to in paragraph (c) or (d), has a controlling interest.

agency of a State means:

                     (a)  a Minister of the Crown for the State; or

                     (b)  a Department of State for the State; or

                     (c)  a body (whether incorporated or not) established or appointed for a public purpose by or under a law of the State (including a local government body); or

                     (d)  a body established or appointed by:

                              (i)  a Governor of the State; or

                             (ii)  a Minister of the Crown for the State; or

                            (iii)  if the State is the Australian Capital Territory—the Australian Capital Territory Executive; or

                     (e)  a person holding or performing the duties of:

                              (i)  an office established by or under; or

                             (ii)  an appointment made under;

                            a law of the State (other than the office of head of a Department of State for the State (however described)); or

                      (f)  a person holding or performing the duties of an appointment that is made by:

                              (i)  a Governor of the State; or

                             (ii)  a Minister of the Crown for the State; or

                            (iii)  if the State is the Australian Capital Territory—the Australian Capital Territory Executive;

                            (otherwise than under a law of the State); or

                     (g)  a company in which the State, or a body corporate referred to in paragraph (c) or (d), has a controlling interest.

Agreement has the meaning given by section 18A.

appropriate enforcement agency has the meaning given by section 137.

assist, in relation to an Authority delegate, means:

                     (a)  to perform functions in connection with the Authority delegate’s performance or exercise of a function or power delegated under section 199; or

                     (b)  to perform services for the Authority delegate in connection with the Authority delegate’s performance or exercise of a function or power delegated under section 199.

Australia, when used in a geographical sense, includes the external Territories.

authorised compliance officer means an individual whose appointment by the Inspector‑General under section 222G is in force.

authorised officer means an individual whose appointment by the Authority under section 217 is in force.

Authority has the meaning given by section 18A.

Authority Chair means the Chair of the Authority.

Authority delegate means a person to whom a function or power is delegated under section 199.

Authority member means a member of the Authority, and includes the Chief Executive and the Authority Chair.

Authority staff means the staff described in section 206.

Basin Community Committee means the committee established under section 202.

Basin Officials Committee has the meaning given by section 18A.

Basin Plan means the Basin Plan adopted by the Minister under section 44 (as amended from time to time).

Basin reference limit has the meaning given by subsection 23A(5).

Basin State means the following:

                     (a)  New South Wales;

                     (b)  Victoria;

                     (c)  Queensland;

                     (d)  South Australia;

                     (e)  the Australian Capital Territory.

Basin water market trading objectives and principles means the objectives and principles that are set out in Schedule 3.

Basin water resources means all water resources within, or beneath, the Murray‑Darling Basin, but does not include:

                     (a)  water resources within, or beneath, the Murray‑Darling Basin that are prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph; or

                     (b)  ground water that forms part of the Great Artesian Basin.

biodiversity means the variability among living organisms from all sources (including terrestrial, marine and aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part) and includes:

                     (a)  diversity within species and between species; and

                     (b)  diversity of ecosystems.

Biodiversity Convention means the Convention on Biological Diversity done at Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992.

Note:          The text of the Convention is set out in Australian Treaty Series 1993 No. 32. In 2007, the text of a Convention in the Australian Treaty Series was accessible through the Australian Treaties Library on the AustLII website (www.austlii.edu.au).

Bonn Convention means the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals done at Bonn on 23 June 1979.

Note:          The text of the Convention is set out in Australian Treaty Series 1991 No. 32. In 2007, the text of a Convention in the Australian Treaty Series was accessible through the Australian Treaties Library on the AustLII website (www.austlii.edu.au).

Border Rivers water sharing arrangements has the meaning given by subsection 86F(3).

bulk water charge means a charge payable for either or both the storage of water for, or the delivery of water to, any of the following:

                     (a)  infrastructure operators;

                     (b)  other operators of reticulated water systems;

                     (c)  other persons prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph.

Bureau means the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology established under section 5 of the Meteorology Act 1955.

CAMBA means the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the People’s Republic of China for the Protection of Migratory Birds and their Environment done at Canberra on 20 October 1986.

Note:          The text of the Agreement is set out in Australian Treaty Series 1988 No. 22. In 2007, the text of an Agreement in the Australian Treaty Series was accessible through the Australian Treaties Library on the AustLII website (www.austlii.edu.au).

Chief Executive means the Chief Executive of the Authority.

civil penalty provision has the meaning given by section 146.

Climate Change Convention means the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change done at New York on 9 May 1992.

Note:          The text of the Convention is set out in Australian Treaty Series 1994 No. 2. In 2007, the text of a Convention in the Australian Treaty Series was accessible through the Australian Treaties Library on the AustLII website (www.austlii.edu.au).

Commissioner has the meaning given by subsection 239J(3).

Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder means the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder established under section 104.

Commonwealth environmental water holdings has the meaning given by section 108.

Commonwealth water legislation has the meaning given by section 250A.

constitutional corporation means a corporation to which paragraph 51(xx) of the Constitution applies.

consumptive use means the use of water for private benefit consumptive purposes including irrigation, industry, urban and stock and domestic use.

contract includes a deed.

conveyance water has the meaning given by subsection 86A(4).

critical human water needs has the meaning given by subsection 86A(2).

declared Ramsar wetlands has the meaning given by section 17 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Desertification Convention means the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa done at Paris on 17 June 1994.

Note:          The text of the Convention is set out in Australian Treaty Series 2000 No. 18. In 2007, the text of a Convention in the Australian Treaty Series was accessible through the Australian Treaties Library on the AustLII website (www.austlii.edu.au).

designated compliance provision means any of the following provisions:

                     (a)  a provision of Part 2 or regulations made for the purposes of that Part;

                     (b)  section 166;

                     (c)  section 222C;

                     (d)  section 222D;

                     (e)  section 237A;

                      (f)  section 238.

enforcement body has the meaning given by the Privacy Act 1988.

enforcement related activity has the meaning given by the Privacy Act 1988.

environmental assets includes:

                     (a)  water‑dependent ecosystems; and

                     (b)  ecosystem services; and

                     (c)  sites with ecological significance.

environmentally sustainable level of take for a water resource means the level at which water can be taken from that water resource which, if exceeded, would compromise:

                     (a)  key environmental assets of the water resource; or

                     (b)  key ecosystem functions of the water resource; or

                     (c)  the productive base of the water resource; or

                     (d)  key environmental outcomes for the water resource.

environmental outcomes includes:

                     (a)  ecosystem function; and

                     (b)  biodiversity; and

                     (c)  water quality; and

                     (d)  water resource health.

Note 1:       Paragraph (a) would cover, for example, maintaining ecosystem function by the periodic flooding of floodplain wetlands.

Note 2:       Paragraph (d) would cover, for example, mitigating pollution and limiting noxious algal blooms.

environmental water means:

                     (a)  held environmental water; or

                     (b)  planned environmental water.

Environmental Water Holdings Special Account means the account established by section 111.

environmental watering means the delivery or use of environmental water to achieve environmental outcomes.

environmental watering schedule means an agreement:

                     (a)  that is an agreement to coordinate the use of environmental water to maximise the benefits of environmental watering across the Murray‑Darling Basin, a specified part of the Murray‑Darling Basin or a specified area outside the Murray‑Darling Basin; and

                     (b)  to which some or all of the following are parties:

                              (i)  holders of held environmental water (including the Commonwealth);

                             (ii)  owners of environmental assets;

                            (iii)  managers of planned environmental water; and

                     (c)  if the agreement relates to held environmental water in the Murray‑Darling Basin—to which the Authority is a party.

evidential burden, in relation to a matter, means the burden of adducing or pointing to evidence that suggests a reasonable possibility that the matter exists or does not exist.

evidential material means any of the following:

                     (a)  a thing with respect to which a designated compliance provision has been contravened or is suspected, on reasonable grounds, to have been contravened;

                     (b)  a thing that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting will afford evidence as to the contravention of a designated compliance provision;

                     (c)  a thing that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting is intended to be used for the purpose of contravening a designated compliance provision.

executive officer of a body corporate means a person (by whatever name called and whether or not a director of the body) who is concerned in, or takes part in, the management of the body.

field relevant to the Authority’s functions has a meaning affected by subsection 178(3).

former MDB Agreement has the meaning given by section 239A.

former Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council has the meaning given by section 239A.

ground water means:

                     (a)  water occurring naturally below ground level (whether in an aquifer or otherwise); or

                     (b)  water occurring at a place below ground that has been pumped, diverted or released to that place for the purpose of being stored there;

but does not include water held in underground tanks, pipes or other works.

held environmental water means water available under:

                     (a)  a water access right; or

                     (b)  a water delivery right; or

                     (c)  an irrigation right;

for the purposes of achieving environmental outcomes (including water that is specified in a water access right to be for environmental use).

Indigenous person means a person who is:

                     (a)  a member of the Aboriginal race of Australia; or

                     (b)  a descendant of an Indigenous inhabitant of the Torres Strait Islands.

infrastructure operator has the meaning given by subsection 7(2).

infringement notice means an infringement notice given under section 156.

Inspector‑General means the Inspector‑General of Water Compliance referred to in section 215B.

interception activity means the interception of surface water or ground water that would otherwise flow, directly or indirectly, into a watercourse, lake, wetland, aquifer, dam or reservoir that is a Basin water resource.

interest, in relation to land, means:

                     (a)  any legal or equitable estate or interest in the land; or

                     (b)  a restriction on the use of the land, whether or not annexed to other land; or

                     (c)  any other right (including a right under an option and a right of redemption), charge, power or privilege over, or in connection with, the land or an interest in the land.

interim water resource plan has the meaning given by section 242.

international agreement means an agreement whose parties are:

                     (a)  Australia and a foreign country; or

                     (b)  Australia and 2 or more foreign countries.

investigation warrant means:

                     (a)  a warrant issued by a magistrate under section 226; or

                     (b)  a warrant signed by a magistrate under section 227.

irrigation infrastructure operator has the meaning given by subsection 7(4).

irrigation network of an irrigation infrastructure operator has the meaning given by subsection 7(4).

irrigation right means a right that:

                     (a)  a person has against an irrigation infrastructure operator to receive water; and

                     (b)  is not a water access right or a water delivery right.

JAMBA means the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of Japan for the Protection of Migratory Birds and Birds in Danger of Extinction and their Environment done at Tokyo on 6 February 1981.

Note:          The text of the Agreement is set out in Australian Treaty Series 1981 No. 6. In 2007, the text of an Agreement in the Australian Treaty Series was accessible through the Australian Treaties Library on the AustLII website (www.austlii.edu.au).

lake:

                     (a)  means a natural lake, pond or lagoon (whether modified or not); and

                     (b)  includes a part of such a lake, pond or lagoon.

law of a referring State means a law of, or in force in, a referring State but does not include a law of the Commonwealth in force in the referring State.

law of a State means a law of, or in force in, a State but does not include a law of the Commonwealth in force in the State.

Living Murray Initiative has the meaning given by subsection 18H(2).

Living Murray Initiative assets has the meaning given by subsection 239E(2).

Lock 1 means Weir and Lock No 1 Blanchetown referred to in Schedule A to the Agreement.

long‑term annual diversion limit has the meaning given by item 7 of the table in subsection 22(1).

long‑term average sustainable diversion limit has the meaning given by item 6 of the table in subsection 22(1).

Lower Lakes means Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina in South Australia.

maintenance includes the execution of all work of any description which is necessary to keep an existing work in the state of utility in which it was upon its original completion or upon the completion of any improvement or replacement of the work. However, it does not include:

                     (a)  the execution of any improvement to the design or function of that work; or

                     (b)  the replacement of the whole of that work; or

                     (c)  work to remedy the extraordinary failure of all or part of that work.

measures includes strategies, plans and programs.

member of the governing body of a relevant interest group has the meaning given by subsection 178(4).

modifications includes additions, omissions and substitutions.

monitoring warrant means a warrant issued by a magistrate under section 225.

Murray‑Darling Basin has the meaning given by section 18A.

Murray‑Darling Basin Commission has the meaning given by section 239A.

Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council has the meaning given by section 18A.

Murray‑Darling Basin Special Account means the fund mentioned in section 209.

Murray Mouth Barrages means the Murray Mouth Barrages referred to in Schedule A to the Agreement.

National Water Commission means the National Water Commission that was established by section 6 of the National Water Commission Act 2004.

Note:          The National Water Commission was abolished by the National Water Commission (Abolition) Act 2015.

National Water Information Standards means the standards issued under section 130.

National Water Initiative means the Intergovernmental Agreement on a National Water Initiative between the Commonwealth of Australia and the Governments of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory (as amended from time to time).

Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council means the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council that was established by Council of Australian Governments in June 2001.

non‑Basin water access entitlement has the meaning given by subsection 100C(5).

notifiable instrument has the same meaning as in the Legislation Act 2003.

operating authority means:

                     (a)  an agency of a Basin State that has the function of managing a river flow control work or a salinity work (whether or not the function is carried out by another person under a licence, contract or other arrangement with the agency); or

                     (b)  a person who has the function of managing a river flow control work or a salinity work (whether or not the function is carried out by another person under a licence, contract or other arrangement with the person).

overallocation: there is an overallocation for a water resource plan area if, with full development of water access rights in relation to the water resources of the area, the total volume of water able to be extracted by the holders of water access rights at a given time exceeds the environmentally sustainable level of take for those water resources.

overuse: there is an overuse for a water resource plan area if the total volume of water actually taken for consumptive use from the water resources of the area at a given time exceeds the environmentally sustainable level of take for those water resources.

Note:          An overuse may arise for a water resource plan area if the area is overallocated, or if the planned allocation for the area is exceeded due to inadequate monitoring or accounting.

paid work means work for financial gain or reward (whether as an employee, a self‑employed person or otherwise).

penalty unit has the meaning given by section 4AA of the Crimes Act 1914.

planned environmental water has the meaning given by section 6.

premises includes the following:

                     (a)  a building;

                     (b)  a place (including an area of land);

                     (c)  a vehicle;

                     (d)  a vessel;

                     (e)  an aircraft;

                      (f)  a water resource;

                     (g)  any part of premises (including premises referred to in paragraphs (a) to (f)).

President has the meaning given by subsection 239J(2).

principles of ecologically sustainable development has the meaning given by subsection (2).

Productivity Minister means the Minister administering the Productivity Commission Act 1998.

proposed Basin limit has the meaning given by subsection 23A(5).

proposed plan area limit has the meaning given by subsection 23A(5).

Ramsar Convention means the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat done at Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971.

Note:          The text of the Convention is set out in Australian Treaty Series 1975 No. 48. In 2007, the text of a Convention in the Australian Treaty Series was accessible through the Australian Treaties Library on the AustLII website (www.austlii.edu.au).

reference time has the meaning given by subsection 23A(5).

referring State has the meaning given by section 18B.

regulated water charges has the meaning given by section 91.

relevant chief executive, in Division 5 of Part 8, has the meaning given by section 155A.

relevant international agreement means the following:

                     (a)  the Ramsar Convention;

                     (b)  the Biodiversity Convention;

                     (c)  the Desertification Convention;

                     (d)  the Bonn Convention;

                     (e)  CAMBA;

                      (f)  JAMBA;

                     (g)  ROKAMBA;

                     (h)  the Climate Change Convention;

                      (i)  any other international convention to which Australia is a party and that is:

                              (i)  relevant to the use and management of the Basin water resources; and

                             (ii)  prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph.

relevant State Minister, for a Basin State, means:

                     (a)  the Minister of the Crown for the State who is responsible for the administration of the State’s water management law; or

                     (b)  if there is more than one such Minister—the Minister of the Crown for the State that the Premier of the State advises the Authority, in writing, is the relevant State Minister for the State.

river flow control work has the meaning given by section 8.

River Murray Operations assets has the meaning given by subsection 239D(2).

River Murray System has the meaning given by subsection 86A(3).

ROKAMBA means the Agreement with the Government of the Republic of Korea on the Protection of Migratory Birds done at Canberra on 6 December 2006.

Note:          The text of the Agreement is set out in Australian Treaty Series 2007 No. 24. In 2007, the text of a Convention in the Australian Treaty Series was accessible through the Australian Treaties Library on the AustLII website (www.austlii.edu.au).

salinity work means a work to reduce, or maintain, salinity levels in the Murray‑Darling Basin.

State (except in section 18B) includes the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.

State water management law means:

                     (a)  the Water Management Act 2000, the Water Act 1912 and the Rivers and Foreshores Improvement Act 1948 of New South Wales; or

                     (b)  the Water Act 1989 and Parts 4 and 5 of the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 of Victoria; or

                     (c)  the Water Act 2000 of Queensland; or

                     (d)  the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 of South Australia; or

                     (e)  the Water Resources Act 2007 of the Australian Capital Territory; or

                      (f)  a law of a Basin State, or a part of such a law, that:

                              (i)  is relevant to the management of Basin water resources; and

                             (ii)  is prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this definition;

and includes regulations, and other instruments, made under those laws.

State water sharing arrangement has the meaning given by subsection 86D(4).

surface water includes:

                     (a)  water in a watercourse, lake or wetland; and

                     (b)  any water flowing over or lying on land:

                              (i)  after having precipitated naturally; or

                             (ii)  after having risen to the surface naturally from underground.

take water from a water resource means to remove water from, or to reduce the flow of water in or into, the water resource including by any of the following means:

                     (a)  pumping or siphoning water from the water resource;

                     (b)  stopping, impeding or diverting the flow of water in or into the water resource;

                     (c)  releasing water from the water resource if the water resource is a wetland or lake;

                     (d)  permitting water to flow from the water resource if the water resource is a well or watercourse;

and includes storing water as part of, or in a way that is ancillary to, any of the processes or activities referred to in paragraphs (a) to (d).

temporary diversion provision has the meaning given by item 7 of the table in subsection 22(1).

thing includes a substance, and a thing in electronic or magnetic form.

total Basin adjustment percentage has the meaning given by subsections 23A(5) and (6).

tradeable water rights means:

                     (a)  water access rights; or

                     (b)  water delivery rights; or

                     (c)  irrigation rights.

transitional asset has the meaning given by subsection 239C(3).

transitional instrument has the meaning given by subsection 239N(4).

transitional liability has the meaning given by subsection 239F(3).

transitional water resource plan has the meaning given by section 241.

water access entitlement means a perpetual or ongoing entitlement, by or under a law of a State, to exclusive access to a share of the water resources of a water resource plan area.

water access right:

                     (a)  means any right conferred by or under a law of a State to do either or both of the following:

                              (i)  to hold water from a water resource;

                             (ii)  to take water from a water resource; and

                     (b)  without limiting paragraph (a), includes the following rights of the kind referred to in that paragraph:

                              (i)  stock and domestic rights;

                             (ii)  riparian rights;

                            (iii)  a water access entitlement;

                            (iv)  a water allocation; and

                     (c)  includes any other right in relation to the taking or use of water that is prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph.

water accounting period for a water resource plan area has the meaning given by item 2 of the table in subsection 22(1).

water allocation means the specific volume of water allocated to water access entitlements in a given water accounting period.

water charge rules has the meaning given by section 92.

water charging objectives and principles means the objectives set out in Schedule 2.

watercourse:

                     (a)  means a river, creek or other natural watercourse (whether modified or not) in which water is contained or flows (whether permanently or from time to time); and

                     (b)  includes:

                              (i)  a dam or reservoir that collects water flowing in a watercourse; and

                             (ii)  a lake or wetland through which water flows; and

                            (iii)  a channel into which the water of a watercourse has been diverted; and

                            (iv)  part of a watercourse; and

                             (v)  an estuary through which water flows.

water delivery right means a right to have water delivered by an infrastructure operator.

water‑dependent ecosystem means a surface water ecosystem or a ground water ecosystem, and its natural components and processes, that depends on periodic or sustained inundation, waterlogging or significant inputs of water for its ecological integrity and includes an ecosystem associated with:

                     (a)  a wetland; or

                     (b)  a stream and its floodplain; or

                     (c)  a lake or a body of water (whether fresh or saline); or

                     (d)  a salt marsh; or

                     (e)  an estuary; or

                      (f)  a karst system; or

                     (g)  a ground water system;

and a reference to a water‑dependent ecosystem includes a reference to the biodiversity of the ecosystem.

Water for the Environment Special Account means the special account established by section 86AB.

water information has the meaning given by section 125.

water market rules has the meaning given by section 97.

water resource means:

                     (a)  surface water or ground water; or

                     (b)  a watercourse, lake, wetland or aquifer (whether or not it currently has water in it);

and includes all aspects of the water resource (including water, organisms and other components and ecosystems that contribute to the physical state and environmental value of the water resource).

water resource plan for a water resource plan area means a plan that:

                     (a)  provides for the management of the water resource plan area; and

                     (b)  is either:

                              (i)  accredited under section 63; or

                             (ii)  adopted under section 69;

but only to the extent to which the water resource plan:

                     (c)  relates to Basin water resources; and

                     (d)  makes provision in relation to the matters that the Basin Plan requires a water resource plan to include.

water resource plan area means an area that:

                     (a)  contains part of the Basin water resources; and

                     (b)  is specified in the Basin Plan as an area that is a water resource plan area for the purposes of this Act.

Note:          See item 2 of the table in subsection 22(1).

water resources of a water resource plan area has the meaning given by item 2 of the table in subsection 22(1).

water service infrastructure has the meaning given by subsection 7(3).

water trading rules means the rules included in the Basin Plan under item 12 of the table in subsection 22(1).

wetland has the same meaning as in the Ramsar Convention.

             (2)  The following principles are principles of ecologically sustainable development:

                     (a)  decision‑making processes should effectively integrate both long‑term and short‑term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations;

                     (b)  if there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation;

                     (c)  the principle of inter‑generational equity—that the present generation should ensure that the health, biodiversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations;

                     (d)  the conservation of biodiversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration in decision‑making;

                     (e)  improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms should be promoted.

5  Application of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 to Parts 1A, 2A, 4, 4A, 10A and 11A

             (1)  The Acts Interpretation Act 1901, as in force on the day on which Schedule 1 to the Water Amendment Act 2008 commences, applies to Parts 1A, 2A, 4, 4A, 10A and 11A.

             (2)  Amendments of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 made after that day do not apply to those Parts.

6  Planned environmental water

             (1)  For the purposes of this Act, planned environmental water is water that:

                     (a)  is committed by:

                              (i)  the Basin Plan or a water resource plan for a water resource plan area; or

                             (ii)  a plan made under a State water management law; or

                            (iii)  any other instrument made under a law of a State;

                            to either or both of the following purposes:

                            (iv)  achieving environmental outcomes;

                             (v)  other environmental purposes that are specified in the plan or the instrument; and

                     (b)  cannot, to the extent to which it is committed by that instrument to that purpose or those purposes, be taken or used for any other purpose.

             (2)  For the purposes of this Act, planned environmental water is water that:

                     (a)  is preserved, by a law of a State or an instrument made under a law of a State, for the purposes of achieving environmental outcomes by any other means (for example, by means of the setting of water flow or pressure targets or establishing zones within which water may not be taken from a water resource); and

                     (b)  cannot, to the extent to which it is preserved by that instrument for that purpose or those purposes, be taken or used for any other purpose.

             (3)  The water may be committed to, or preserved for, the purpose or purposes referred to in paragraph (1)(a) or (2)(a) either generally or only at specified times or in specified circumstances.

             (4)  Without limiting paragraph (1)(b) or (2)(b), the requirements of paragraph (1)(b) or (2)(b) are taken to have been met even if the water is taken or used for another purpose in emergency circumstances in accordance with:

                     (a)  the instrument referred to in that paragraph; or

                     (b)  the law under which the instrument is made; or

                     (c)  another law.

7  Infrastructure operators etc.

             (1)  This section applies if a person owns or operates infrastructure for one or more of the following purposes:

                     (a)  the storage of water;

                     (b)  the delivery of water;

                     (c)  the drainage of water;

for the purpose of providing a service to someone who does not own or operate the infrastructure.

             (2)  The person is an infrastructure operator.

             (3)  The infrastructure is water service infrastructure.

             (4)  If water service infrastructure is operated for the purposes of delivering water for the primary purpose of being used for irrigation:

                     (a)  each infrastructure operator for the water service infrastructure is an irrigation infrastructure operator; and

                     (b)  the water service infrastructure is the irrigation network of each of those irrigation infrastructure operators.

8  River flow control works

             (1)  For the purposes of this Act, a river flow control work is a work that:

                     (a)  regulates the flow or control of water in the watercourses of the Murray‑Darling Basin, including:

                              (i)  a dam, barrage, bank, regulator, weir or lock; or

                             (ii)  a work connecting a river channel with an off‑stream work that regulates the flow or control of water; or

                            (iii)  a work (including a canal) connecting a river channel with another river channel; and

                     (b)  is either:

                              (i)  owned by, or is under the control of, the Commonwealth or a Basin State; or

                             (ii)  specified in the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph.

             (2)  However, river flow control work does not include:

                     (a)  a work that is under the control of the body that is entitled, under the Snowy Hydro Corporatisation Act 1997 of New South Wales, to the Snowy water licence within the meaning of that Act; or

                     (b)  a work operated primarily to deliver water for urban retail supply; or

                     (c)  a work specified in the regulations.

             (3)  In applying paragraph (2)(a), a variation of the licence, or an amendment of the Snowy Hydro Corporatisation Act 1997 of New South Wales, after the commencement of this section is to be disregarded unless the variation is prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this subsection.

9  Constitutional basis for Act

                   This Act (other than Parts 1A, 2A, 4, 4A, 10A and 11A) relies on:

                     (a)  the Commonwealth’s legislative powers under paragraphs 51(i), (v), (viii), (xi), (xv), (xx), (xxix) and (xxxix), and section 122, of the Constitution; and

                     (b)  any implied legislative powers of the Commonwealth.

Note 1:       See also sections 36 and 37, which clarify the constitutional basis for section 35.

Note 2:       See also sections 60 and 61, which clarify the constitutional basis for section 59.

Note 3:       See also sections 73C and 73D, which clarify the constitutional basis for sections 73A and 73B, and sections 73J and 73K, which clarify the constitutional basis for sections 73F to 73H.

Note 4:       See also section 119, which clarifies the constitutional basis for Part 7.

Note 5:       See also subsection 165(6), which clarifies the constitutional basis for giving a direction under subsection 165(2) in certain circumstances.

9A  Constitutional basis of Parts 1A, 2A, 4, 4A, 10A and 11A

Operation in a Basin State

             (1)  The operation of Parts 1A, 2A, 4, 4A, 10A and 11A in a referring State that is a Basin State is based on:

                     (a)  the legislative powers that the Commonwealth Parliament has under section 51 of the Constitution (other than paragraph 51(xxxvii)); and

                     (b)  the legislative powers that the Commonwealth Parliament has in respect of matters to which those Parts relate because those matters are referred to it by the Parliament of the referring State under paragraph 51(xxxvii) of the Constitution.

Note:          The State reference fully supplements the Commonwealth Parliament’s other powers by referring the matters to the Commonwealth Parliament to the extent to which they are not otherwise included in the legislative powers of the Commonwealth Parliament.

             (2)  The operation of Parts 1A, 2A, 4 and 11A in a Basin State (other than the Australian Capital Territory) that is not a referring State is based on the legislative powers that the Commonwealth Parliament has under section 51 of the Constitution (other than paragraph 51(xxxvii)).

Operation in a State that is not a Basin State

             (3)  The operation of Parts 4A and 11A in a referring State that is not a Basin State is based on:

                     (a)  the legislative powers that the Commonwealth Parliament has under section 51 of the Constitution (other than paragraph 51(xxxvii)); and

                     (b)  the legislative powers that the Commonwealth Parliament has in respect of matters to which those Parts relate because those matters are referred to it by the Parliament of the referring State under paragraph 51(xxxvii) of the Constitution.

Note:          The State reference fully supplements the Commonwealth Parliament’s other powers by referring the matters to the Commonwealth Parliament to the extent to which they are not otherwise included in the legislative powers of the Commonwealth Parliament.

Operation in the Australian Capital Territory

             (4)  The operation of Parts 1A, 2A, 4 and 10A in the Australian Capital Territory is based on:

                     (a)  the legislative powers that the Commonwealth Parliament has under section 122 of the Constitution to make laws for the government of that Territory; and

                     (b)  the legislative powers that the Commonwealth Parliament has under section 51 of the Constitution (other than paragraph 51(xxxvii)).

Operation in the Northern Territory

             (5)  The operation of Part 4A in the Northern Territory is based on:

                     (a)  the legislative powers that the Commonwealth Parliament has under section 122 of the Constitution to make laws for the government of that Territory; and

                     (b)  the legislative powers that the Commonwealth Parliament has under section 51 of the Constitution (other than paragraph 51(xxxvii)).

10  Basis for Basin water charge, water trading and water market rules

             (1)  This Act deals with, and provides for plans and rules made under this Act to deal with:

                     (a)  water charges in relation to:

                              (i)  the Basin water resources; or

                             (ii)  water service infrastructure that carries Basin water resources; or

                           (iia)  water service infrastructure that carries water that has been taken from a Basin water resource; or

                            (iii)  water access rights, irrigation rights or water delivery rights in relation to Basin water resources; and

                     (b)  the trading and transfer of tradeable water rights in relation to the Basin water resources; and

                     (c)  the market for tradeable water rights in relation to the Basin water resource.

             (2)  The basis for dealing with those topics is that:

                     (a)  the Basin water resources are physically interconnected; and

                     (b)  the Basin water resources are a major Australian water resource and, because they are interconnected, are the major Australian water resource in relation to which:

                              (i)  tradeable water rights are able to be traded between States; and

                             (ii)  water is, pursuant to that trade, able to be delivered between States; and

                     (c)  the Basin water resources are scarce and at risk of continuing scarcity and further depletion; and

                     (d)  the Basin water resources are subject to significant environmental threat; and

                     (e)  there are important and significant environmental assets that are associated with the Basin water resources and that need protection; and

                      (f)  the inefficient and/or inappropriate use of the Basin water resources would have a significant detrimental impact on:

                              (i)  the availability of the Basin water resources; and

                             (ii)  the health of the Basin water resources or the environmental assets associated with the Basin water resources; and

                     (g)  the inefficient and/or inappropriate use of the Basin water resources would have a significant detrimental economic and social impact on the wellbeing of the communities in the Murray‑Darling Basin; and

                     (h)  this Act and the plans and rules relating to:

                              (i)  water charging; and

                             (ii)  trading; and

                            (iii)  the transfer of tradeable water rights; and

                            (iv)  water markets;

                            will promote:

                             (v)  the more efficient use of the Basin water resources; and

                            (vi)  the continued availability of the Basin water resources; and

                           (vii)  the health of the Basin water resources and the environmental assets associated with the Basin water resources; and

                          (viii)  the economic and social wellbeing of the communities in the Murray‑Darling Basin.

11  Reading down provision in relation to the operation of sections 99 and 100 of the Constitution

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  the operation of a provision of this Act, or of regulations or another instrument made under this Act, in reliance on the Commonwealth’s legislative powers under paragraph 51(i) or (xx) of the Constitution would be invalid because of section 99 or 100 of the Constitution; and

                     (b)  the operation of that provision in reliance on another legislative power, or other legislative powers, of the Commonwealth would not be invalid because of section 99 or 100 of the Constitution;

it is the intention of the Parliament that the provision operate in reliance on the legislative power or powers referred to in paragraph (b).

             (2)  Without limiting paragraph (1)(b), the reference in that paragraph to a legislative power of the Commonwealth includes a reference to a legislative power under a referral under paragraph 51(xxxvii) of the Constitution.

             (3)  If:

                     (a)  a provision of this Act, or of regulations or another instrument made under this Act, operates in relation to trade or commerce; and

                     (b)  the operation of the provision is invalid, under section 99 or 100 of the Constitution, in relation to trade or commerce between the States;

it is the intention of the Parliament that the provision operate in relation to trade or commerce within the States.

             (4)  Subsections (1) and (3) may both operate in relation to the same provision of this Act, or of regulations or another instrument made under this Act and, if they do, subsection (1) is to be applied first and then subsection (3).

             (5)  This section does not affect the operation of section 15A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 in relation to the provisions of this Act or the regulations or other instruments made under this Act.

12  Application to Crown etc.

             (1)  This Act binds the Crown in each of its capacities.

             (2)  This Act does not make the Crown liable to be:

                     (a)  prosecuted for an offence; or

                     (b)  subject to civil proceedings for a civil penalty for a contravention of a civil penalty provision; or

                     (c)  given an infringement notice.

             (3)  This Act does not make an agency of the Commonwealth, or an agency of a State, liable to be:

                     (a)  prosecuted for an offence; or

                     (b)  subject to civil proceedings for a civil penalty for a contravention of a civil penalty provision; or

                     (c)  given an infringement notice.

             (4)  Subsection (3) does not apply to the following:

                     (a)  an agency of the Commonwealth of the kind referred to in paragraph (g) of the definition of agency of the Commonwealth in subsection 4(1);

                     (b)  an agency of a State of the kind that:

                              (i)  is referred to in paragraph (c) of the definition of agency of a State in subsection 4(1); and

                             (ii)  operates primarily on a commercial basis;

                     (c)  an agency of a State of the kind referred to in paragraph (g) of the definition of agency of a State in subsection 4(1).

12A  Actions of the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council

                   If this Act requires or permits the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council to do a thing, the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council is required or permitted to do the thing in accordance with any requirements specified in the Agreement.

13  The Native Title Act 1993 not affected

                   Nothing in this Act affects the operation of the Native Title Act 1993.

Part 1AThe Murray‑Darling Basin Agreement

Division 1Preliminary

18A  Definitions

                   In this Act:

Agreement means the Murray‑Darling Basin Agreement, as amended from time to time in accordance with that agreement and as set out in Schedule 1.

Note:          The Murray‑Darling Basin Agreement operates as an agreement between the parties. The text of the Agreement is set out in Schedule 1, and as such it has further effect as provided for by this Act (for example, see sections 18E and 18F).

Authority means the Murray‑Darling Basin Authority established by section 171.

Basin Officials Committee means the committee established under the Agreement.

Murray‑Darling Basin means the area falling within the boundary described in the dataset that:

                     (a)  is titled Murray‑Darling Basin Boundary—Water Act 2007; and

                     (b)  has a dataset scale of 1:250,000; and

                     (c)  specifies the boundary of the Murray‑Darling drainage division derived from the dataset that is titled “Australia’s River Basins 1997” and is dated 30 June 1997; and

                     (d)  is held by the Commonwealth.

Note 1:       An indicative map of this area is set out in Schedule 1A.

Note 2:       A copy of the dataset can be obtained from the Department’s website: see section 252A.

Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council has the same meaning as Ministerial Council in the Agreement.

18B  Meaning of referring State

Reference of matters by State Parliament to Commonwealth Parliament

             (1)  A State is a referring State if the Parliament of the State has referred the matters covered by subsections (3) and (4) in relation to the State to the Parliament of the Commonwealth for the purposes of paragraph 51(xxxvii) of the Constitution:

                     (a)  if and to the extent that the matters are not otherwise included in the legislative powers of the Parliament of the Commonwealth (otherwise than by a reference under paragraph 51(xxxvii) of the Constitution); and

                     (b)  if and to the extent that the matters are included in the legislative powers of the Parliament of the State.

This subsection has effect subject to subsections (5) and (6).

             (2)  A State is a referring State even if a law of the State provides that the reference to the Parliament of the Commonwealth of either or both of the matters covered by subsections (3) and (4) is to terminate in particular circumstances.

Reference covering initial provisions of this Act

             (3)  This subsection covers the matters to which the referred provisions for the State in question relate to the extent of making laws with respect to those matters by including the referred provisions, as originally enacted by the Water Amendment Act 2008, in this Act.

Reference covering amendments of this Act

             (4)  This subsection covers:

                     (a)  if the State in question is a Basin State—the referred subject matters; and

                     (b)  in any case—the matter of the application, in relation to water resources that are not Basin water resources, of provisions of this Act dealing with the subject matters specified in paragraphs (c) and (d) of the definition of referred subject matters in subsection (9) (being an application of a kind that is authorised by the law of the State in question);

to the extent of the making of laws with respect to those matters by making express amendments of this Act.

Effect of termination of reference

             (5)  A State ceases to be a referring State if the State’s initial reference terminates.

             (6)  Subject to subsections (7) and (8), a State ceases to be a referring State if the State’s amendment reference terminates.

             (7)  A State does not cease to be a referring State because of the termination of its amendment reference if:

                     (a)  the termination is effected by the Governor of that State fixing a day by proclamation as the day on which the reference terminates; and

                     (b)  the day fixed is no earlier than the first day after the end of the period of 6 months beginning on the day on which the proclamation is published; and

                     (c)  that State’s amendment reference, and the amendment reference of every other referring State, terminate on the same day.

             (8)  A State does not cease to be a referring State because of the termination of its amendment reference if:

                     (a)  a Bill is introduced into a House of the Parliament that includes a proposed amendment of the referred provisions, or that would, if enacted, have the effect that this Act would no longer contain:

                              (i)  subsections 22(10), (11) and (12), or provisions having substantially the same effect; or

                             (ii)  Part 11A, or provisions having substantially the same effect; and

                     (b)  the Governor of the State, by proclamation, issues a notice stating that:

                              (i)  the State has not agreed to the amendment; and

                             (ii)  this subsection will apply in relation to the State from a day specified in the notice; and

                     (c)  the State Minister of that State who is a member of the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council informs the other members of the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council that the notice was issued; and

                     (d)  the Governor does not revoke the notice before:

                              (i)  the day specified in the notice passes; or

                             (ii)  the Bill is enacted in a form that includes that amendment or a substantially similar amendment;

                            whichever happens later.

Definitions

             (9)  In this section:

amendment reference of a State means the reference by the Parliament of the State to the Parliament of the Commonwealth of the matters covered by subsection (4).

express amendment of this Act means the direct amendment (whether by the insertion, omission, repeal, substitution or relocation of words or matter) of:

                     (a)  the referred provisions; or

                     (b)  definitions in this Act of terms used in the referred provisions;

but does not include the enactment by a Commonwealth Act of a provision that has, or will have, substantive effect otherwise than as part of the text of the referred provisions or those definitions.

initial reference of a State means the reference by the Parliament of the State to the Parliament of the Commonwealth of the matters covered by subsection (3).

referred provisions, for a State, means:

                     (a)  if the State is a Basin State—this Part and Parts 2A, 4, 4A, 10A and 11A to the extent to which they deal with matters that are included in the legislative powers of the Parliament of the State; or

                     (b)  if the State is not a Basin State—Parts 4A and 11A to the extent to which they deal with matters that are included in the legislative powers of the Parliament of the State.

referred subject matters means any of the following:

                     (a)  the powers, functions and duties conferred on Commonwealth agencies that:

                              (i)  relate to Basin water resources; and

                             (ii)  are conferred by or under the Agreement;

                     (b)  the management of Basin water resources to meet critical human water needs;

                     (c)  water charging in relation to Basin water resources (other than for urban water supply after the removal of the water from a Basin water resource);

                     (d)  the transformation of entitlements to water from a Basin water resource to enable trading in those water entitlements;

                     (e)  the transfer of assets, rights and liabilities of the Murray‑Darling Basin Commission to the Authority, and other transitional matters relating to the replacement of the Murray‑Darling Basin Commission.

           (10)  A reference in this section to a Part of this Act includes a reference to any Schedule to this Act that contains provisions enacted for the purposes of that Part.

Division 2The Murray‑Darling Basin Agreement

18C  Amendment of Schedule 1

             (1)  The regulations may make amendments to Schedule 1 by incorporating into the Agreement amendments made to, and in accordance with, the Murray‑Darling Basin Agreement.

Note 1:       The Murray‑Darling Basin Agreement requires the agreement of the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council to any amendments of the Murray‑Darling Basin Agreement.

Note 2:       Amendments of the Murray‑Darling Basin Agreement, made in accordance with that agreement, operate as an agreement between the parties. The text of the Agreement as set out in Schedule 1 will be amended accordingly, and as such it has further effect as provided for by this Act (for example, see sections 18E and 18F). The amendment of the Schedule by itself cannot amend the agreement between the parties.

             (2)  A reference in subsection (1) to amendment includes a reference to the insertion, omission, repeal, substitution, addition or relocation of words or matter.

          (2A)  Subsection 14(2) of the Legislation Act 2003 does not apply to regulations made for the purposes of subsection (1) of this section.

             (3)  Part 4 of Chapter 3 (sunsetting) of the Legislation Act 2003 does not apply to regulations made for the purposes of this section.

18D  Protocols made by the Authority

                   A protocol made by the Authority under a Schedule to the Agreement is a legislative instrument, but neither section 42 (disallowance) nor Part 4 of Chapter 3 (sunsetting) of the Legislation Act 2003 applies to the protocol.

Division 3Functions, powers and duties under the Agreement

18E  Additional functions, powers and duties of the Authority

             (1)  Without limiting sections 172 and 173, the Authority has, in a referring State or the Australian Capital Territory, the functions, powers and duties that:

                     (a)  are expressed to be conferred on it by or under the Agreement; and

                     (b)  relate to the water and other natural resources of the Murray‑Darling Basin.

             (2)  In performing these functions and duties and exercising these powers, the Authority must comply with any requirements under the Agreement.

             (3)  The Authority has, in connection with:

                     (a)  the performance of its functions and duties under this Part; and

                     (b)  the exercise of its powers under this Part;

such powers in a referring State or the Australian Capital Territory as it has in connection with the performance of its other functions under this Act.

             (4)  However, the application of subsection (3) to the Authority’s powers under Part 10 is limited to the Authority’s powers under:

                     (a)  Subdivision A of Division 2 of that Part (Authorised officers); and

                     (b)  Subdivision B of Division 2 of that Part (Powers to enter land etc. other than for compliance purposes); and

                     (c)  Division 3 of that Part (Information gathering).

             (5)  Part 10 so applies as if:

                     (a)  the application of that Part in relation to premises in, or information held in, a referring State or the Australian Capital Territory were not limited by section 219 or by subsection 222D(1); and

                     (b)  references in section 221 to the Authority’s functions under section 219 included references to the Authority’s functions under this Part.

             (6)  However:

                     (a)  an authorised officer must not enter premises under Subdivision B of Division 2 of that Part as applied by this section unless he or she reasonably believes this is necessary for the performance of any of the Authority’s functions under this Part; and

                     (b)  Subdivision B of Division 2 of that Part as applied by this section does not extend to entering premises for the purposes of:

                              (i)  monitoring compliance with this Part or regulations made for the purposes of this Part; or

                             (ii)  searching for evidential material; and

                     (c)  the Authority must not require a person to give information under Division 3 of that Part as applied by this section unless the Authority has reason to believe that information relating to a matter:

                              (i)  relevant to the performance of the Authority’s functions under this Part; and

                             (ii)  specified in regulations made for the purposes of this paragraph;

                            is in the person’s possession, custody or control (whether held electronically or in any other form).

Note:          The conferral of functions, powers and duties on the Authority by this section does not otherwise give the Agreement any effect as a law of the Commonwealth.

18F  Additional functions, powers and duties of the Basin Community Committee

             (1)  Without limiting section 202, the Basin Community Committee has, in a referring State or the Australian Capital Territory, the functions, powers and duties that:

                     (a)  are expressed to be conferred on it by or under the Agreement; and

                     (b)  relate to the water and other natural resources of the Murray‑Darling Basin.

             (2)  In performing these functions and duties and exercising these powers, the Basin Community Committee must comply with any requirements under the Agreement.

Note:          The conferral of functions, powers and duties on the Basin Community Committee by this section does not otherwise give the Agreement any effect as a law of the Commonwealth.

18G  Management of money and assets

                   The Authority must deal with:

                     (a)  any money under the Agreement; and

                     (b)  any assets it acquires with that money; and

                     (c)  any assets that vest in the Authority under section 239C;

in a way that is in accordance with the Agreement and consistent with the purposes of the Agreement.

18H  Managing water access rights etc. for the Living Murray Initiative

             (1)  The Authority must, if the Living Murray Initiative so provides, manage the rights and interests that:

                     (a)  are:

                              (i)  water access rights, water delivery rights, irrigation rights or other similar rights relating to water; or

                             (ii)  interests in, or in relation to, such rights; and

                     (b)  are held for the purposes of the Living Murray Initiative;

in accordance with and in a way that gives effect to the Living Murray Initiative.

             (2)  The Living Murray Initiative is the Intergovernmental Agreement on Addressing Water Overallocation and Achieving Environmental Objectives in the Murray‑Darling Basin of 25 June 2004 read together with:

                     (a)  the Supplementary Intergovernmental Agreement on Addressing Water Overallocation and Achieving Environmental Objectives in the Murray‑Darling Basin of 14 July 2006; and

                     (b)  arrangements referred to in clause 3.9.2 of the Agreement on Murray‑Darling Basin Reform‑Referral.

Part 2Management of Basin water resources

Division 1Basin Plan

Subdivision AIntroduction

19  Simplified outline

             (1)  This section sets out a simplified outline of this Part.

             (2)  There is to be a Basin Plan for the management of the Basin water resources. The Basin Plan will provide for limits on the quantity of water that may be taken from the Basin water resources as a whole and from the water resources of each water resource plan area. It will also provide for the requirements to be met by the water resource plans for particular water resource plan areas (these water resource plans are dealt with in Division 2).

             (3)  The Authority must prepare a Basin Plan and give it to the Minister for adoption. The Minister may adopt the Basin Plan without modification or direct the Authority to modify the Plan.

             (4)  The Authority may prepare amendments of the Basin Plan and give them to the Minister for adoption. The Minister may adopt the amendments of the Basin Plan without modifications or direct the Authority to modify the amendments.

             (5)  The Authority must review the Basin Plan at least every 10 years (or sooner if the Minister or all the Basin States request).

Subdivision BBasin Plan, its purpose and contents

20  Purpose of Basin Plan

                   The purpose of the Basin Plan is to provide for the integrated management of the Basin water resources in a way that promotes the objects of this Act, in particular by providing for:

                     (a)  giving effect to relevant international agreements (to the extent to which those agreements are relevant to the use and management of the Basin water resources); and

                     (b)  the establishment and enforcement of environmentally sustainable limits on the quantities of surface water and ground water that may be taken from the Basin water resources (including by interception activities); and

                     (c)  Basin‑wide environmental objectives for water‑dependent ecosystems of the Murray‑Darling Basin and water quality and salinity objectives; and

                     (d)  the use and management of the Basin water resources in a way that optimises economic, social and environmental outcomes; and

                     (e)  water to reach its most productive use through the development of an efficient water trading regime across the Murray‑Darling Basin; and

                      (f)  requirements that a water resource plan for a water resource plan area must meet if it is to be accredited or adopted under Division 2; and

                     (g)  improved water security for all uses of Basin water resources.

21  General basis on which Basin Plan to be developed

Basin Plan to implement international agreements

             (1)  The Basin Plan (including any environmental watering plan or water quality and salinity management plan included in the Basin Plan) must be prepared so as to provide for giving effect to relevant international agreements (to the extent to which those agreements are relevant to the use and management of the Basin water resources).

             (2)  Without limiting subsection (1), the Basin Plan must:

                     (a)  be prepared having regard to:

                              (i)  the fact that the use of the Basin water resources has had, and is likely to have, significant adverse impacts on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; and

                             (ii)  the fact that the Basin water resources require, as a result, special measures to manage their use to conserve biodiversity; and

                     (b)  promote sustainable use of the Basin water resources to protect and restore the ecosystems, natural habitats and species that are reliant on the Basin water resources and to conserve biodiversity.

Note 1:       See Articles 7 and 8 of the Biodiversity Convention.

Note 2:       The Basin Plan must also be prepared having regard to critical human water needs (see Part 2A).

             (3)  Without limiting subsection (1), the Basin Plan must also:

                     (a)  promote the wise use of all the Basin water resources; and

                     (b)  promote the conservation of declared Ramsar wetlands in the Murray‑Darling Basin; and

                     (c)  take account of the ecological character descriptions of:

                              (i)  all declared Ramsar wetlands within the Murray‑Darling Basin; and

                             (ii)  all other key environmental sites within the Murray‑Darling Basin;

                            prepared in accordance with the National Framework and Guidance for Describing the Ecological Character of Australia’s Ramsar Wetlands endorsed by the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council.

Note 1:       See Article 3 of the Ramsar Convention.

Note 2:       A copy of the National Framework and Guidance for Describing the Ecological Character of Australia’s Ramsar Wetlands may be found on the Department’s website.

Basis on which Basin Plan to be developed

             (4)  Subject to subsections (1), (2) and (3), the Authority and the Minister must, in exercising their powers and performing their functions under this Division:

                     (a)  take into account the principles of ecologically sustainable development; and

                     (b)  act on the basis of the best available scientific knowledge and socio‑economic analysis; and

                     (c)  have regard to the following:

                              (i)  the National Water Initiative;

                             (ii)  the consumptive and other economic uses of Basin water resources;

                            (iii)  the diversity and variability of the Basin water resources and the need to adapt management approaches to that diversity and variability;

                            (iv)  the management objectives of the Basin States for particular water resources;

                             (v)  social, cultural, Indigenous and other public benefit issues;

                            (vi)  broader regional natural resource management planning processes;

                           (vii)  the effect, or potential effect, of the Basin Plan on the use and management of water resources that are not Basin water resources;

                          (viii)  the effect, or the potential effect, of the use and management of water resources that are not Basin water resources on the use and management of the Basin water resources;

                            (ix)  the State water sharing arrangements;

                             (x)  any other arrangements between States for the sharing of water.

Note 1:       Paragraph (b): the best available scientific knowledge includes the best available systems for accounting for water resources.

Note 2:       An example of a management objective referred to in subparagraph (c)(iv) might be preservation of the natural values of a river system through no development or minimal development.

Note 3:       See also subsection 25(3) (which deals with the water quality and salinity management plan).

Basin Plan not to reduce protection of planned environmental water provided for under existing State water management laws

             (5)  The Basin Plan must ensure that there is no net reduction in the protection of planned environmental water from the protection provided for under the State water management law of a Basin State immediately before the Basin Plan first takes effect.

Basin Plan not to be inconsistent with Snowy Water Licence

             (6)  The Basin Plan must not be inconsistent with the provisions of the licence issued under section 22 of the Snowy Hydro Corporatisation Act 1997 of New South Wales.

             (7)  In applying subsection (6), a variation of the licence after the commencement of Part 2 of this Act is to be disregarded unless the variation is prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this subsection.

22  Content of Basin Plan

Mandatory content of Basin Plan

             (1)  The Basin Plan must include the matters set out in the following table:

 

Mandatory content of Basin Plan

Item

Matter to be included

Specific requirements

1

A description of the Basin water resources and the context in which those resources are used.

The description must include information about:

(a) the size, extent, connectivity, variability and condition of the Basin water resources; and

(b) the uses to which the Basin water resources are put (including by Indigenous people); and

(c) the users of the Basin water resources; and

(d) the social and economic circumstances of Basin communities dependent on the Basin water resources.

2

An identification of the particular areas that are to be water resource plan areas for the purposes of this Act and the periods that are to be the water accounting periods for each of those areas.

The Basin Plan may also provide that an area is to be a water resource plan area for the purposes of this Act from the time specified in the Basin Plan. The time may be specified as a particular date, as the time when particular conditions are satisfied or particular circumstances start to exist or in any other way. If the Basin Plan includes a provision to this effect, the area is a water resource plan area only from the time specified in the Basin Plan.

The identification must specify one or more of the following as the water resources to which any water resource plan for the area will apply:

(a) all (or a specified part or share) of the surface water in a particular area;

(b) all (or a specified part or share) of the ground water beneath a particular area;

(c) all (or a specified part) of a particular watercourse, lake or aquifer.

A reference in this Act to the water resources of the water resource plan area is a reference to the water resources identified as the ones to which the water resource plan applies.

The water resource plan areas in a State, and the water accounting periods for those areas, that are identified in the Basin Plan must, as far as possible, be aligned with the areas and accounting periods provided for in or under the State water management law of that State. However, this does not prevent the Basin Plan identifying an area as a water resource plan area if none of that area falls within an area provided for in or under the State water management law of that State.

The surface water of the Googong Dam Area (within the meaning of the Canberra Water Supply (Googong Dam) Act 1974) must be included in a water resource plan area for which the Australian Capital Territory (and not New South Wales) prepares a water resource plan (see section 63A).

The Authority must consult a State before the Basin Plan identifies as a water resource plan area an area none of which falls within an area provided for in or under the State water management law of that State.

3

An identification of the risks to the condition, or continued availability, of the Basin water resources.

The risks dealt with must include the risks to the availability of Basin water resources that arise from the following:

(a) the taking and use of water (including through interception activities);

(b) the effects of climate change;

(c) changes to land use;

(d) the limitations on the state of knowledge on the basis of which estimates about matters relating to Basin water resources are made.

4

Management objectives and outcomes to be achieved by the Basin Plan.

The objectives and outcomes must be consistent with purposes set out in section 20.

The objectives and outcomes must address:

(a) environmental outcomes; and

(b) water quality and salinity; and

(c) long‑term average sustainable diversion limits and temporary diversion limits; and

(d) trading in water access rights.

5

The strategies to be adopted to manage, or address, the risks identified under item 3.

The strategies must relate to the management of Basin water resources.

6

The maximum long‑term annual average quantities of water that can be taken, on a sustainable basis, from:

(a) the Basin water resources as a whole; and

(b) the water resources, or particular parts of the water resources, of each water resource plan area.

The limit must comply with section 23.

Sections 23A and 23B deal with adjustments to the limit.

Section 75 requires particular matters to be specified in the Basin Plan if a long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the water resources, or a particular part of the water resources, of a water resource plan area is reduced.

 

The averages are the long‑term average sustainable diversion limits for the Basin water resources, and the water resources, or particular parts of the water resources, of the water resource plan area.

 

7

For the water resources, or particular parts of the water resources, of each water resource plan area, the long‑term annual average quantities of water that may, on a temporary basis, be taken year by year from the water resources, or particular parts of the water resources, in addition to the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for those water resources or that particular part.

The average is the temporary diversion provision for those water resources or that particular part.

The sum of:

(a) the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit; and

(b) the temporary diversion provision;

for those water resources or that particular part is the long‑term annual diversion limit for those water resources or that particular part.

The temporary diversion provision must comply with section 24.

8

The method for determining whether the long‑term annual diversion limit for the water resources, or a particular part of the water resources, of a water resource plan area has been complied with (whether in relation to a particular water accounting period or over a longer period) and the extent of any failure to comply with that limit.

The method must include provision for accounting for any trading, or transfer, of tradeable water rights.

9

An environmental watering plan.

The environmental watering plan must comply with section 28.

10

A water quality and salinity management plan.

The water quality and salinity management plan must comply with section 25.

11

The requirements that a water resource plan for a water resource plan area must comply with for it to be accredited or adopted under Division 2.

The requirements must relate to matters that are relevant to the sustainable use and management of the water resources of the water resource plan area.

Subsections (3), (6A) and (6B) provide that certain matters must be included in the requirements.

12

Rules for the trading or transfer of tradeable water rights in relation to Basin water resources.

See also section 26.

The rules must contribute to achieving the Basin water market and trading objectives and principles that are set out in Schedule 3.

Without limiting the matters that the rules may deal with, the rules must deal with the trading or transfer between Basin States of tradeable water rights in relation to Basin water resources.

13

A program for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the Basin Plan.

The program must include the principles to be applied and the framework to be used to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the Basin Plan.

The program must include reporting requirements for the Commonwealth and the Basin States.

The program must include 5 yearly reviews of:

(a) the water quality and salinity targets in the water quality and salinity management plan; and

(b) the environmental watering plan; and

(c) the social and economic impacts of the Basin Plan.

The program must provide for the first of each of those reviews to be completed before the end of 2020.

Note:          The Basin Plan must also include matters relating to critical human water needs (see Part 2A).

             (2)  Areas identified as water resource plan areas under item 2 of the table in subsection (1) may overlap.

Note:          Although the areas may overlap, they may relate to different water resources within the common area.

             (3)  Without limiting item 11 of the table in subsection (1), the requirements specified under that item for a water resource plan for a water resource plan area must include requirements in relation to:

                     (a)  the identification of the water resource plan area; and

                     (b)  the incorporation, and application, of the long‑term annual diversion limit for the water resources of the water resource plan area (see also subsections (6A) and (6B)); and

                     (c)  the sustainable use and management of the water resources of the water resource plan area within that diversion limit; and

                    (ca)  having regard to social, spiritual and cultural matters relevant to Indigenous people in relation to the water resources of the water resource plan area in the preparation of the water resource plan; and

                     (d)  the regulation, for the purposes of managing Basin water resources, of interception activities with a significant impact (whether on an activity‑by‑activity basis or cumulatively) on those water resources; and

                     (e)  planning for environmental watering; and

                      (f)  water quality and salinity objectives for the water resource plan area; and

                     (g)  the circumstances in which tradeable water rights in relation to the water resource plan area may be traded, or transferred, and the conditions applicable to such trades or transfers; and

                     (h)  broad approaches to the way risks to the water resources of the water resource plan area should be addressed; and

                      (i)  metering the water taken from the water resources of the water resource plan area and monitoring the water resources of the water resource plan area; and

                      (j)  reviews of the water resource plan and amendments of the plan arising from those reviews; and

                     (k)  the scientific information or models on which the water resource plan is to be based.

The requirements in relation to the matters referred to in paragraph (g) must contribute to achieving the Basin water market and trading objectives and principles that are set out in Schedule 3.

             (4)  The requirements referred to in a paragraph in subsection (3) need not apply in relation to the water resource plan for a water resource plan area if those requirements are not relevant to the water resource plan area given the management objectives for the area.

Note:          If the management objective for the area is to preserve the natural values of a river system through no development, some of the requirements that relate to the use and management of the water resources of the water resource plan area may be irrelevant.

             (5)  The requirements specified under item 11 of the table in subsection (1) may include a requirement for a water resource plan to provide for the metering of stock and domestic water use only to the extent that such metering is necessary for the effective management of the Basin water resources.

Note:          Metering may, for example, be necessary for the effective management of the Basin water resources where a particular ground water resource is under stress or where there are local disputes about water sharing.

             (6)  To avoid doubt:

                     (a)  there may be different requirements under item 11 of the table in subsection (1) for different kinds of water resource plan areas or to meet different management objectives; and

                     (b)  a requirement under that item may be one that, in accordance with its terms, does not apply to a particular water resource plan area or applies only to a limited extent.

Adjustments to long‑term annual diversion limits

          (6A)  The requirements in paragraph (3)(b) must include a requirement for a water resource plan for a water resource plan area to contain a mechanism for incorporating and applying the long‑term annual diversion limit for the water resources of that plan area (or for a particular part of those water resources), as that limit is after it has been amended to take account of a relevant SDL adjustment.

          (6B)  For the purposes of subsection (6A), a relevant SDL adjustment, in relation to a water resource plan area, is an adjustment of the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the water resources of that plan area (or for a particular part of those water resources) that is adopted under subsection 23B(6) as an amendment of the Basin Plan after the water resource plan for that plan area is accredited or adopted.

             (7)  The requirements referred to in paragraph (3)(d):

                     (a)  may require that interception activities with, or with the potential to have, significant impacts on the water resources of the water resource plan area are assessed to determine whether they are consistent with the water resource plan before they are approved under:

                              (i)  any other laws of a Basin State; or

                             (ii)  a particular law of a Basin State; and

                     (b)  may require that water access rights be held for specified kinds of interception activities.

Other matters that may be included in Basin Plan

             (8)  The Basin Plan may also include any other matters prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this subsection.

Basin Plan may confer functions or powers on Inspector‑General

          (8A)  A provision of the Basin Plan that relates to a matter set out in the table in subsection (1), or a matter prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of subsection (8), may confer functions or powers on the Inspector‑General:

                     (a)  for the purpose of ensuring compliance with provisions of the Basin Plan that relate to that matter; or

                     (b)  otherwise relating to that matter.

Matters that may not be dealt with by the Basin Plan

             (9)  The provisions of the Basin Plan have effect only to the extent to which they relate to a matter that is relevant to the use or management of Basin water resources.

           (10)  A provision of the Basin Plan has no effect to the extent to which the provision directly regulates:

                     (a)  land use or planning in relation to land use; or

                     (b)  the management of natural resources (other than water resources); or

                     (c)  the control of pollution.

           (11)  For the purposes of subsection (10), a provision directly regulates a matter referred to in paragraph (10)(a), (b) or (c) if the provision:

                     (a)  prohibits a person (including an agency of a State) from undertaking an activity in relation to that matter (either absolutely or unless the person satisfies particular conditions); or

                     (b)  requires a person (including an agency of a State) to undertake an activity in relation to that matter; or

                     (c)  requires a person (including an agency of a State) who undertakes an activity in relation to that matter to carry that activity out in a particular way; or

                     (d)  imposes an obligation on a person (including an agency of a State) in relation to the carrying out of an activity in relation to that matter, including an obligation to obtain consent or approval in relation to that matter; or

                     (e)  imposes an obligation on a person (including an agency of a State) in connection with the performance of a function relating to a matter referred to in paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d), including by obliging the person to impose such an obligation on another person or agency.

This subsection does not limit subsection (10).

           (12)  Subsections (10) and (11) do not prevent a provision of the Basin Plan having effect to the extent to which it:

                     (a)  imposes a requirement of the kind referred to in subsection (7); or

                     (b)  sets targets under section 25 or 28; or

                     (c)  imposes a requirement to report on steps taken by a State to meet targets set in the Basin Plan.

23  Long‑term average sustainable diversion limits

             (1)  A long‑term average sustainable diversion limit must reflect an environmentally sustainable level of take.

             (2)  A long‑term average sustainable diversion limit may be specified:

                     (a)  as a particular quantity of water per year; or

                     (b)  as a formula or other method that may be used to calculate a quantity of water per year; or

                     (c)  in any other way that the Authority determines to be appropriate.

Note:          Sections 23A and 23B set out how a long‑term average sustainable diversion limit may be adjusted.

             (3)  A reference in this section to a long‑term average sustainable diversion limit is a reference to a long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for:

                     (a)  the Basin water resources; or

                     (b)  the water resources of a particular water resource plan area; or

                     (c)  a particular part of the water resources referred to in paragraph (b).

23A  Proposing adjustments of long‑term average sustainable diversion limits

             (1)  The Basin Plan may provide for the Authority to propose:

                     (a)  an adjustment of the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the water resources of a particular water resource plan area (or a particular part of those water resources) by an amount determined by the Authority (subject to subsection (4)); and

                     (b)  as a result of one or more adjustments under paragraph (a) of this subsection, an adjustment of the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the Basin water resources by an amount determined by the Authority.

             (2)  If the Basin Plan includes provisions as described in subsection (1), the Plan must also include:

                     (a)  criteria for determining whether the Authority should propose an adjustment, and the amount of an adjustment, referred to in paragraph (1)(a) or (b); and

                     (b)  a requirement for the Authority to determine whether it is satisfied that the criteria referred to in paragraph (a) of this subsection have been met; and

                     (c)  a requirement for the Authority not to propose an adjustment under paragraph (1)(a) or (b) without seeking and considering advice from the Basin Officials Committee; and

                     (d)  a requirement for the Authority not to propose an adjustment under paragraph (1)(a) or (b) without:

                              (i)  inviting members of the public to make submissions to the Authority on the proposed adjustment; and

                             (ii)  providing a reasonable amount of time for those submissions to be made and considered by the Authority.

             (3)  To avoid doubt:

                     (a)  the Authority may propose an adjustment under paragraph (1)(a) or (b) without preparing an amendment of the Basin Plan under Subdivision F; and

                     (b)  a long‑term average sustainable diversion limit that is produced after the adjustment proposed by the Authority under paragraph (1)(a) or (b) has been taken into account must reflect an environmentally sustainable level of take.

Note:          A proposed adjustment may be adopted by the Minister as an amendment of the Basin Plan under subsection 23B(6).

Limit on proposed adjustments

             (4)  One or more adjustments may be proposed by the Authority under paragraph (1)(a), and an adjustment may be proposed under paragraph (1)(b) as a result of those adjustments, only if the total Basin adjustment percentage is no more than 5%.

Definitions

             (5)  In this Act:

Basin reference limit means the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the Basin water resources that applies at the reference time.

proposed Basin limit means the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the Basin water resources:

                     (a)  that is produced after the adjustment proposed by the Authority under paragraph (1)(b) has been taken into account; and

                     (b)  that replaces the previous long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the Basin water resources.

proposed plan area limit means the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the water resources of a particular water resource plan area (or a particular part of those water resources):

                     (a)  that is produced after the adjustment proposed by the Authority under paragraph (1)(a) has been taken into account; and

                     (b)  that replaces the previous long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for those water resources (or the particular part of those water resources).

reference time means:

                     (a)  unless paragraph (b) or (c) applies—the time the Basin Plan first takes effect; or

                     (b)  if, as a result of the most recent review of the Basin Plan under Subdivision G, an amendment of any one or more long‑term average sustainable diversion limits is adopted—the time when the amendment or amendments take effect; or

                     (c)  if, after the most recent review of the Basin Plan under Subdivision G, the Authority advises the Minister, when giving a report of the results of the review to the Minister under subsection 50(5), that the Authority has decided not to prepare any amendment of any long‑term average sustainable diversion limit—the time when the report is given to the Minister.

total Basin adjustment percentage, in relation to one or more adjustments proposed under paragraph (1)(a), is the amount of the difference between:

                     (a)  the proposed Basin limit that is proposed as a result of those adjustments; and

                     (b)  the Basin reference limit;

expressed as a percentage of the Basin reference limit.

             (6)  If the amount of the difference between the limits in paragraphs (a) and (b) of the definition of total Basin adjustment percentage in subsection (5) is negative, express that amount as a positive amount.

23B  Adopting proposed adjustments as amendments of Basin Plan

             (1)  This section applies if the Authority proposes one or more adjustments of the long‑term average sustainable diversion limits for the water resources of particular water resource plan areas (or particular parts of those water resources) under paragraph 23A(1)(a).

             (2)  For each water resource plan area (or each part) for which an adjustment is proposed, the Authority must include the following information in a notice:

                     (a)  the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit, for the water resources of the plan area (or the particular part of those water resources), that applied at the reference time;

                     (b)  the proposed plan area limit;

                     (c)  the amount of the difference between the limits referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection, expressed as a percentage of the amount of the limit referred to in paragraph (a);

                     (d)  if, on one or more occasions since the reference time, adjustments of the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the water resources of that plan area (or the particular part of those water resources) have been adopted as amendments by the Minister under subsection (6)—the limit as so adjusted;

                     (e)  an outline of the material on which the Authority based its decision in determining that the criteria referred to in paragraph 23A(2)(a) had been met in relation to the adjustment and the amount of the adjustment.

             (3)  A notice made under subsection (2) must also include:

                     (a)  the proposed Basin limit that is proposed as a result of the proposed adjustments referred to in subsection (1); and

                     (b)  the total Basin adjustment percentage; and

                     (c)  an outline of the material on which the Authority based its decision in determining that the criteria referred to in paragraph 23A(2)(a) had been met in relation to the adjustment, and the amount of the adjustment, of the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the Basin water resources.

             (4)  The Authority must also prepare an amendment of the Basin Plan that sets out each proposed plan area limit, and the proposed Basin limit, that is included in the notice.

Note:          The amendment is a legislative instrument (see section 33).

             (5)  The Authority must:

                     (a)  give the notice made under subsection (2) to the Minister; and

                     (b)  give the amendment of the Basin Plan prepared under subsection (4) to the Minister for adoption.

             (6)  As soon as practicable after receiving the amendment, the Minister must:

                     (a)  consider the amendment; and

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  adopt, in writing, the amendment; or

                             (ii)  give the Authority notice, in writing, that the Minister has decided not to adopt the amendment.

Note:          If a long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the water resources of a particular water resource plan area (or a particular part of those water resources) is amended, the long‑term annual diversion limit for those water resources is also amended (see table item 7 of the table in subsection 22(1)).

             (7)  The notice made under subsection (2):

                     (a)  must accompany the amendment when the amendment is laid before a House of the Parliament under section 38 of the Legislation Act 2003; and

                     (b)  is not a legislative instrument.

24  Temporary diversion provision

             (1)  The purpose of a temporary diversion provision for the water resources of a water resource plan area (or for a particular part of those water resources) is to provide for a transition period to minimise social and economic impacts when the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for those water resources (or that part of those resources) is lower than the long‑term average quantity of water that has in fact been being taken from those water resources (or that part of those water resources).

             (2)  The temporary diversion provision for the water resources of a water resource plan area (or for a particular part of those water resources) may be specified:

                     (a)  as a particular quantity of water per year; or

                     (b)  as a formula or other method that may be used to calculate a quantity of water per year; or

                     (c)  in any other way that the Authority determines to be appropriate.

             (3)  The temporary diversion provision for the water resources of a water resource plan area (or for a particular part of those water resources) may be zero.

             (4)  The temporary diversion provision for the water resources of a water resource plan area (or for a particular part of those water resources) may be different for different years.

             (5)  The temporary diversion provision for the water resources of a water resource plan area (or for a particular part of those water resources) that is not zero must reduce to zero by the end of the period of 5 years starting at the beginning of the first year for which a temporary diversion provision that is not zero has effect.

             (6)  A fresh determination of a temporary diversion provision that is not zero must not be made in relation to the water resources of a water resource plan area (or a particular part of those water resources) unless the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for those water resources (or that part of those water resources) is reduced by more than 5%.

             (7)  If a fresh determination of a temporary diversion provision that is not zero is made under subsection (6) for:

                     (a)  the water resources of a water resource plan area; or

                     (b)  a particular part of those water resources;

the temporary diversion provision for those water resources (or that part of those water resources) must reduce to zero by the end of the period of 5 years starting at the beginning of the first year to which the new long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for those water resources (or that part of those water resources) has effect.

25  Water quality and salinity management plan

             (1)  The water quality and salinity management plan must:

                     (a)  identify the key causes of water quality degradation in the Murray‑Darling Basin; and

                     (b)  include water quality and salinity objectives and targets for the Basin water resources.

             (2)  Without limiting paragraph (1)(b), a salinity target referred to in that paragraph:

                     (a)  may specify the place at which the target is to be measured; and

                     (b)  may specify a target in terms of a particular level of salinity being met for a particular percentage of time.

             (3)  In exercising their powers and performing their functions under this Division in relation to the water quality and salinity management plan, the Authority and the Minister must have regard to the National Water Quality Management Strategy endorsed by the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council.

Note:          A copy of the National Water Quality Management Strategy may be found on the Department’s website.

26  Water trading and transfer rules

             (1)  The provisions included in the Basin Plan under item 12 of the table in subsection 22(1) (the water trading rules) may deal with the following matters:

                     (a)  the rules governing the trading or transfer of tradeable water rights;

                     (b)  the terms on which tradeable water rights are traded or transferred;

                     (c)  the processes by which tradeable water rights are traded or transferred;

                     (d)  the imposition or removal of restrictions on, and barriers to, the trading or transfer of tradeable water rights;

                     (e)  restrictions on taking or using water from a water resource as a result of the trading or transfer of tradeable water rights in relation to that water resource;

                      (f)  the manner in which particular kinds of trading or transfer of tradeable water rights is conducted;

                     (g)  the specification of areas within which particular tradeable water rights may be traded or transferred;

                     (h)  the availability of information to enable the trading or transfer of tradeable water rights;

                      (i)  the reporting of the trading or transfer of tradeable water rights;

                      (j)  any matter that was dealt with in:

                              (i)  Schedule E to the former MDB Agreement (other than paragraph 15(3)(c) of that Schedule); or

                             (ii)  the Protocols to the former MDB Agreement made under Schedule E to the former MDB Agreement (other than the Protocol on Access and Exit Fees).

             (2)  Without limiting paragraph (1)(d), the water trading rules may:

                     (a)  prohibit some types of restrictions on, or barriers to, the trading or transfer of tradeable water rights; and

                     (b)  impose or allow other types of restrictions on, or barriers to, the trading or transfer of tradeable water rights.

             (3)  Without limiting paragraph (1)(h) or (i), the water trading rules may provide for the use of registers to provide information about the trading or transfer of tradeable water rights.

             (4)  Without limiting subsection (1), particular water trading rules may be limited to one or more of the following:

                     (a)  particular kinds of trading or transfer (for example, exchange rate trade or tagged trade); or

                     (b)  the trading or transfer of particular kinds of tradeable water rights; or

                     (c)  the trading or transfer of tradeable water rights in relation to particular water resources.

             (5)  Without limiting subsection (1), the water trading rules may provide that a person who suffers loss or damage as a result of conduct of another person that contravenes the water trading rules may recover the amount of the loss or damage by action against that other person or against any person involved in the contravention.

27  Basin Plan to be published on Authority’s website

             (1)  The Authority must publish on its website a copy of the Basin Plan that is in effect.

             (2)  The Basin Plan published under subsection (1) is to be the Plan as amended from time to time.

             (3)  If the Basin Plan is amended, the Authority must also publish on its website a copy of the Basin Plan as in force immediately before the amendment and indicate on the website the period for which that version of the Basin Plan was in force.

Subdivision CEnvironmental management

28  Environmental watering plan

             (1)  The purposes of the environmental watering plan are:

                     (a)  to safeguard existing environmental water; and

                     (b)  to plan for the recovery of additional environmental water; and

                     (c)  to coordinate the management of:

                              (i)  existing environmental water; and

                             (ii)  the additional environmental water that is recovered;

in order to:

                     (d)  protect and restore the wetlands and other environmental assets of the Murray‑Darling Basin; and

                     (e)  protect biodiversity dependent on the Basin water resources and achieve other environmental outcomes for the Murray‑Darling Basin.

             (2)  The environmental watering plan must specify:

                     (a)  the overall environmental objectives for the water‑dependent ecosystems of the Murray‑Darling Basin; and

                     (b)  targets by which to measure progress towards achieving the environmental objectives specified in accordance with paragraph (a); and

                     (c)  an environmental management framework for planned environmental water and held environmental water; and

                     (d)  the methods to be used to identify environmental assets in the Murray‑Darling Basin that will require environmental watering; and

                     (e)  the principles to be applied, and methods to be used, to determine the priorities for applying environmental water (including applying that water to environmental assets that are identified using the methods specified under paragraph (d)); and

                      (f)  the principles to be applied in environmental watering.

             (3)  Without limiting paragraph (2)(b), the environmental watering plan may specify targets for one or more of the following:

                     (a)  water resource health;

                     (b)  water flows;

                     (c)  water pressure;

                     (d)  water levels.

The targets may relate to the Basin water resources as a whole or to particular Basin water resources.

             (4)  In preparing the environmental watering plan, the Authority must have regard to any other programs for water recovery and environmental watering in the Murray‑Darling Basin.

29  Authority to consult holders and managers of environmental water in implementing environmental watering plan

                   The Authority must, in implementing the environmental watering plan, consult:

                     (a)  holders of held environmental water; and

                     (b)  owners of environmental assets; and

                     (c)  managers of planned environmental water;

in order to develop periodic environmental watering schedules.

30  Environmental watering schedules

             (1)  An environmental watering schedule developed for the purposes of the environmental watering plan must identify environmental watering priorities for that schedule.

             (2)  The priorities must be consistent with the environmental watering plan.

31  Authority to coordinate delivery of environmental water

                   The Authority may coordinate the delivery of environmental water in accordance with the environmental watering schedules developed for the purposes of the environmental watering plan.

32  Authority to identify and account for held environmental water

                   The Authority must identify and account for held environmental water in the Murray‑Darling Basin for each financial year.

Subdivision DEffect of Basin Plan

33  Basin Plan is a legislative instrument

             (1)  The Basin Plan:

                     (a)  is a legislative instrument; and

                     (b)  is taken to be made by the Minister on the day on which the Minister adopts the Basin Plan under section 44.

             (2)  An amendment of the Basin Plan adopted by the Minister under subsection 23B(6) or section 48 or 49AA:

                     (a)  is a legislative instrument; and

                     (b)  is taken to be made by the Minister on the day on which the Minister adopts the amendment under that subsection or section.

             (3)  An amendment of the Basin Plan by the Authority under regulations made for the purposes of section 49 is a legislative instrument.

34  Effect of Basin Plan on Authority and other agencies of the Commonwealth

             (1)  The Authority, and the other agencies of the Commonwealth, must perform their functions, and exercise their powers, consistently with, and in a manner that gives effect to, the Basin Plan.

          (1A)  Subsection (1) does not apply in relation to any of the matters included or specified in the Basin Plan under Part 2A (Critical human water needs).

Note:          For the effect of the Basin Plan on the Authority and other agencies of the Commonwealth in relation to these matters, see section 86G.

             (2)  To avoid doubt, subsection (1) does not apply to the Authority’s or the Minister’s functions and powers under this Division.

             (3)  Subsection (1) has effect subject to regulations made for the purposes of section 38.

35  Effect of Basin Plan on other agencies and persons

             (1)  The Basin Officials Committee, an agency of a Basin State, an operating authority, an infrastructure operator or the holder of a water access right must not:

                     (a)  do an act in relation to Basin water resources if the act is inconsistent with the Basin Plan; or

                     (b)  fail to do an act in relation to Basin water resources if the failure to do that act is inconsistent with the Basin Plan.

          (1A)  Subsection (1) does not apply in relation to any of the matters included or specified in the Basin Plan under Part 2A (Critical human water needs).

Note:          For the effect of the Basin Plan on other agencies and persons in relation to these matters, see section 86H.

             (2)  Subsection (1) applies to an act of an agency of a Basin State only if the act is one that relates to the use or management of the Basin water resources.

             (3)  Subsection (1) has effect subject to regulations made for the purposes of section 38.

36  Constitutional operation of section 35 (general)

             (1)  Section 35 imposes an obligation to the extent to which imposing the obligation gives effect to a relevant international agreement.

             (2)  Section 35 imposes an obligation to the extent to which the obligation is imposed:

                     (a)  on a constitutional corporation; or

                     (b)  in relation to conduct that affects the activities of a constitutional corporation.

             (3)  Section 35 imposes an obligation to the extent to which the obligation is imposed in relation to conduct that takes place in the course of trade or commerce:

                     (a)  with other countries; or

                     (b)  among the States; or

                     (c)  between a State and a Territory.

Note:          This subsection is of particular relevance to the provisions of the Basin Plan that deal with the trading or transfer of tradeable water rights.

             (4)  Section 35 imposes an obligation to the extent to which the obligation is imposed in relation to conduct that takes place in a Territory.

             (6)  Subsections (1), (2), (3) and (4):

                     (a)  have effect independently of each other; and

                     (b)  do not limit section 37; and

                     (c)  do not limit the operation (if any) that section 35 validly has apart from this section.

             (7)  In this section:

conduct includes an act or omission.

37  Constitutional operation of section 35 (water trading rules)

             (1)  This section deals with the provisions of the Basin Plan to the extent to which they deal with the trading or transfer of a tradeable water right in relation to Basin water resources.

Note:          See item 12 of the table in subsection 22(1).

             (2)  Section 35 imposes obligations in relation to the provisions if at least one of the parties to the trading or the transfer is a constitutional corporation.

             (3)  Section 35 imposes obligations in relation to the provisions if the trading or transfer takes place in the course of trade and commerce:

                     (a)  between the States; or

                     (b)  between a State and a Territory.

             (4)  Section 35 imposes obligations in relation to the provisions if:

                     (a)  the trading or transfer takes place in a Territory; or

                     (b)  the trading or transfer relates to tradeable water rights in relation to a water resource in a Territory.

             (5)  Section 35 imposes obligations in relation to the provisions if at least one element of the trading or transfer takes place using a postal, telegraphic, telephonic or other like service (within the meaning of paragraph 51(v) of the Constitution).

             (7)  Subsections (2), (3), (4) and (5):

                     (a)  have effect independently of each other; and

                     (b)  do not limit section 36; and

                     (c)  do not limit the operation (if any) that section 35 validly has apart from this section.

38  Regulations may provide for exceptions

             (1)  Without limiting section 250E, the regulations may provide that subsections 34(1) and 35(1) do not apply to the activities specified in the regulations.

             (2)  Without limiting subsection (1), the regulations:

                     (a)  may provide that subsections 34(1) and 35(1) do not apply to a particular activity only if the conditions specified in the regulations are satisfied; and

                     (b)  may provide that subsections 34(1) and 35(1) do not apply to a particular activity only for the period specified in the regulations.

39  Obligations under both Basin Plan and water resource plans

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  the Basin Plan provides for obligations in relation to a particular matter; and

                     (b)  the Basin Plan also provides that water resource plans must impose obligations of the same, or a similar, kind in relation to that matter;

the obligations referred to in paragraph (a) are disregarded for the purposes of applying sections 34 and 35.

             (2)  To avoid doubt, subsection (1) applies even if a particular water resource plan was accredited under section 63 having regard to a version of the Basin Plan that did not include the obligations referred to in paragraph (1)(a).

40  Effect on State laws

                   Without limiting section 250B, if the Basin Plan provides for a maximum quantity of water that may be taken from the water resources of a particular water resource plan area, it is not intended to exclude or limit the concurrent operation of a State law that provides for the same or a lower maximum quantity of water that may be taken from those water resources.

Subdivision EProcedure for making Basin Plan

41  Authority to prepare Basin Plan and give to Minister for adoption

                   The Authority must, as soon as practicable after the commencement of this Part, prepare a Basin Plan and give it to the Minister for adoption together with any document prepared under paragraph 43(11)(a) or 43A(6)(d).

42  Consultations by Authority in preparing Basin Plan

             (1)  The Authority must consult with:

                     (a)  the Basin States; and

                     (b)  the Basin Officials Committee; and

                     (c)  the Basin Community Committee;

in preparing the Basin Plan.

             (2)  In preparing the rules referred to in item 12 of the table in subsection 22(1), the Authority must obtain, and have regard to, the advice of the ACCC.

             (3)  In preparing the Basin Plan, the Authority may undertake such other consultation, and publish such information to facilitate consultation, as it considers appropriate.

43  Authority to seek submissions on proposed Basin Plan

             (1)  This section applies once the Authority has prepared a proposed Basin Plan.

             (2)  The Authority must prepare a plain English summary of the proposed Basin Plan (including an outline of the scientific knowledge and socio‑economic analysis on which the proposed Basin Plan is based).

             (3)  Without limiting subsection 42(1), the Authority must:

                     (a)  give a copy of the proposed Basin Plan (and the summary) to the relevant State Minister for each of the Basin States; and

                     (b)  invite the Basin State to make submissions to the Authority on the proposed Basin Plan; and

                     (c)  allow the Basin State at least 16 weeks from when the invitation is given to make submissions to the Authority on the proposed Basin Plan.

             (4)  The Authority must:

                     (a)  publish an invitation to members of the public to make submissions to the Authority on the proposed Basin Plan; and

                     (b)  allow at least 16 weeks from the start of the consultation period for submissions on the proposed Basin Plan.

             (5)  The invitation under paragraph (4)(a) must be published:

                     (a)  in the Gazette; and

                     (b)  in a newspaper circulating generally in each Basin State; and

                     (c)  on the Authority’s website.

The consultation period starts when the invitation is published in the Gazette.

             (6)  The invitation under paragraph (4)(a) must:

                     (a)  specify how a person may obtain a copy of the proposed Basin Plan (and the summary); and

                     (b)  specify a physical address, and an email address, to which a person may send submissions on the proposed Basin Plan to the Authority; and

                     (c)  specify the date by which submissions must be received by the Authority; and

                     (d)  indicate that submissions that a person makes to the Authority on the proposed Basin Plan will be published on the Authority’s website unless the person specifically requests the Authority to treat the submissions (or a particular part of the submissions) confidentially.

             (7)  The Authority must make the proposed Basin Plan (and the summary) available on its website.

             (8)  The Authority must publish on its website the submissions it receives on the proposed Basin Plan in response to the invitations issued under subsections (3) and (4).

             (9)  Subsection (8) does not apply to the submissions (or a particular part of the submissions) that a person makes to the Authority if the person requests the Authority to treat the submissions (or that part of the submissions) confidentially.

Note:          See paragraph (6)(d).

           (10)  The Authority:

                     (a)  must consider any submissions it receives in response to the invitations issued under subsections (3) and (4); and

                     (b)  may alter the Basin Plan as a result of its consideration of those submissions.

           (11)  The Authority must:

                     (a)  prepare a document that:

                              (i)  gives a broad outline of any changes that the Authority makes to the proposed Basin Plan after the start of the consultation period; and

                             (ii)  summarises any submissions it received in response to the invitations issued under subsections (3) and (4), how it addressed those submissions and any alterations it has made as a result of its consideration of those submissions; and

                     (c)  publish a copy of the document on its website.

43A  Authority to seek comments from Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council on proposed Basin Plan

             (1)  This section applies once the Authority has complied with section 43 in relation to a proposed Basin Plan.

             (2)  Without limiting subsection 42(1), the Authority must give each member of the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council a copy of the proposed Basin Plan (incorporating any alterations it has made under paragraph 43(10)(b)).

             (3)  The copy must be given together with the Authority’s advice to the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council on the likely socio‑economic implications of any reductions in the long‑term average sustainable diversion limits proposed in the proposed Basin Plan.

             (4)  The Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council must, within 6 weeks after the Authority complied with subsection (2), give the Authority a written notice:

                     (a)  stating that neither the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council nor any of its members have any comments on the proposed Basin Plan; or

                     (b)  stating that the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council, or one or more of its members, disagrees with one or both of the following:

                              (i)  the long‑term average sustainable diversion limits proposed in the proposed Basin Plan;

                             (ii)  any other aspect of the proposed Basin Plan in relation to which the Minister may give a direction under subparagraph 44(3)(b)(ii);

                            and specifying the nature of the disagreement.

Note:          Subsection 44(5) specifies matters in relation to which the Minister must not give a direction.

             (5)  If the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council does not give the Authority such a notice within that period of 6 weeks, the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council and its members are taken not to have any comments on the proposed Basin Plan.

             (6)  If the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council gives the Authority a notice that states under paragraph (4)(b) matters with which the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council, or one or more of its members, disagrees, the Authority must:

                     (a)  consider the matters; and

                     (b)  undertake such consultations in relation to the matters as the Authority considers necessary or appropriate; and

                     (c)  either:

                              (i)  confirm the proposed Basin Plan, and give each member of the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council a copy of the unaltered proposed Basin Plan, together with the Authority’s views on the matters; or

                             (ii)  alter the proposed Basin Plan, and give each member of the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council a copy of the altered proposed Basin Plan, together with the Authority’s views on the matters; and

                     (d)  prepare a document that summarises:

                              (i)  any submissions it received in response to the consultations referred to in paragraph (b); and

                             (ii)  how it addressed those submissions; and

                            (iii)  the extent (if any) to which its consideration of those submissions has affected the version of the Plan, or the views, given to the members of the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council under paragraph (c); and

                     (e)  publish on its website a copy of the document prepared under paragraph (d).

             (7)  The Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council must, within 3 weeks after the Authority complied with paragraph (6)(c), give the Minister a written notice:

                     (a)  stating that neither the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council nor any of its members express any further views on the proposed Basin Plan; or

                     (b)  setting out the views of the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council, or one or more of its members, on one or both of the following:

                              (i)  the long‑term average sustainable diversion limits proposed in the proposed Basin Plan;

                             (ii)  any other aspect of the proposed Basin Plan in relation to which the Minister may give a direction under subparagraph 44(3)(b)(ii).

Note:          Subsection 44(5) specifies matters in relation to which the Minister must not give a direction.

             (8)  If the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council does not give the Minister such a notice within that period of 3 weeks, the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council and its members are taken not to express any further views on the proposed Basin Plan.

44  Minister may adopt Basin Plan

             (1)  Within 12 weeks after the Authority gives the Minister the Basin Plan, the Minister must:

                     (a)  consider the Basin Plan; and

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  adopt, in writing, the Basin Plan; or

                             (ii)  give the Basin Plan back to the Authority with suggestions for consideration by the Authority.

             (2)  If the Minister gives the Basin Plan back to the Authority with suggestions, the Authority must:

                     (a)  consider the suggestions; and

                     (b)  undertake such consultations in relation to the suggestions as the Authority considers necessary or appropriate; and

                     (c)  give the Minister either:

                              (i)  an identical version of the Basin Plan; or

                             (ii)  an altered version of the Basin Plan;

                            together with the Authority’s views on the Minister’s suggestions; and

                     (d)  prepare a document that summarises:

                              (i)  any submissions it received in response to the consultations referred to in paragraph (b); and

                             (ii)  how it addressed those submissions; and

                            (iii)  the extent (if any) to which its consideration of those submissions has affected the version or views given to the Minister under paragraph (c); and

                     (e)  publish on its website a copy of the document prepared under paragraph (d).

             (3)  Within 6 weeks after the Authority gives the Minister a version of the Basin Plan under subsection (2), the Minister:

                     (a)  must consider that version of the Basin Plan and the views given to the Minister under subsection (2); and

                     (b)  must either:

                              (i)  adopt, in writing, that version of the Basin Plan; or

                             (ii)  direct the Authority, in writing, to make modifications to that version of the Basin Plan and give it to the Minister for adoption.

             (4)  A direction under subparagraph (3)(b)(ii) is not a legislative instrument.

             (5)  The Minister must not give a direction under subparagraph (3)(b)(ii) in relation to:

                     (a)  any aspect of the Basin Plan that is of a factual or scientific nature; or

                     (b)  without limiting paragraph (a), any of the matters referred to in:

                              (i)  items 1, 2, 3 or 8 of the table in subsection 22(1); or

                             (ii)  subsection 75(1); or

                            (iii)  subsection 81(2) or (3).

          (5A)  To avoid doubt, subsections 43A(5) and (8) do not affect the Minister’s power to give suggestions or directions to the Authority under this section.

             (6)  If the Minister gives a direction under subparagraph (3)(b)(ii):

                     (a)  the Authority must comply with the direction; and

                     (b)  the Minister must adopt, in writing, the Basin Plan given to the Minister in compliance with the direction.

             (7)  When the Basin Plan is laid before a House of the Parliament under the Legislation Act 2003, the Minister must also lay before that House a document that sets out:

                     (a)  any direction the Minister gave under subparagraph (3)(b)(ii) in relation to the Basin Plan; and

                     (b)  the Minister’s reasons for giving that direction.

Subdivision FAmendment of Basin Plan

45  Authority may prepare amendment of Basin Plan

                   The Authority may prepare an amendment of the Basin Plan and give it to the Minister for adoption together with any document prepared under paragraph 47(11)(a) or 47A(5)(d).

46  Consultations by Authority in preparing amendment of Basin Plan

             (1)  The Authority must consult with:

                     (a)  the Basin States; and

                     (b)  the Basin Officials Committee; and

                     (c)  the Basin Community Committee;

in preparing an amendment of the Basin Plan.

             (2)  In preparing an amendment of the rules referred to in item 12 of the table in subsection 22(1), the Authority must obtain, and have regard to, the advice of the ACCC.

          (2A)  In preparing an amendment of a provision of the Basin Plan that confers functions or powers on the Inspector‑General or otherwise relates to the Inspector‑General, the Authority must obtain, and have regard to, the advice of the Inspector‑General.

             (3)  In preparing an amendment of the Basin Plan, the Authority may undertake such other consultation, and publish such information to facilitate consultation, as it thinks appropriate.

47  Authority to seek submissions on proposed amendment of Basin Plan

             (1)  This section applies once the Authority has prepared a proposed amendment of the Basin Plan.

             (2)  The Authority must prepare a plain English summary of the effect of the proposed amendment (including an outline of the scientific knowledge and socio‑economic analysis on which the proposed amendment is based).

             (3)  Without limiting subsection 46(1), the Authority must:

                     (a)  give a copy of the proposed amendment of the Basin Plan (and the summary) to the relevant State Minister for each of the Basin States; and

                     (b)  invite the Basin State to make submissions to the Authority on the proposed amendment; and

                     (c)  allow the Basin State at least 8 weeks from when the invitation is given to make submissions to the Authority on the proposed amendment.

             (4)  The Authority must:

                     (a)  publish an invitation to members of the public to make submissions to the Authority on the proposed amendment of the Basin Plan; and

                     (b)  allow at least 8 weeks from the start of the consultation period for submissions to be made to the Authority on the proposed amendment.

             (5)  The invitation under paragraph (4)(a) must be published:

                     (a)  in the Gazette; and

                     (b)  in a newspaper circulating generally in each Basin State; and

                     (c)  on the Authority’s website.

The consultation period starts when the invitation is published in the Gazette.

             (6)  The invitation under paragraph (4)(a) must:

                     (a)  specify how a person may obtain a copy of the proposed amendment (and the summary); and

                     (b)  specify a physical address, and an email address, to which a person may send submissions on the proposed amendment to the Authority; and

                     (c)  specify the date by which submissions must be received by the Authority; and

                     (d)  indicate that submissions that a person makes to the Authority on the proposed amendment will be published on the Authority’s website unless the person specifically requests the Authority to treat the submissions (or a particular part of the submissions) confidentially.

             (7)  The Authority must make the proposed amendment of the Basin Plan (and the summary) available on its website.

             (8)  The Authority must publish on its website the submissions it receives on the proposed amendment of the Basin Plan in response to the invitations issued under subsections (3) and (4).

             (9)  Subsection (8) does not apply to the submissions (or a part of the submissions) that a person makes to the Authority if the person requests the Authority to treat the submissions (or that part of the submissions) confidentially.

Note:          See paragraph (6)(d).

           (10)  The Authority:

                     (a)  must consider any submissions it receives in response to the invitations issued under subsections (3) and (4); and

                     (b)  may alter the amendment of the Basin Plan as a result of its consideration of those submissions.

           (11)  The Authority must:

                     (a)  prepare a document that gives a broad outline of any changes that the Authority makes to the proposed amendment of the Basin Plan after the start of the consultation period; and

                     (c)  publish a copy of the document on its website.

47A  Authority to seek comments from Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council on proposed amendment of Basin Plan

             (1)  This section applies once the Authority has complied with section 47 in relation to a proposed amendment of the Basin Plan.

             (2)  Without limiting subsection 46(1), the Authority must give each member of the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council a copy of the proposed amendment of the Basin Plan (incorporating any alterations it has made under paragraph 47(10)(b)).

             (3)  The Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council must, within 6 weeks after the Authority complied with subsection (2), give the Authority a written notice:

                     (a)  stating that neither the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council nor any of its members have any comments on the proposed amendment; or

                     (b)  stating that the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council, or one or more of its members, disagrees with one or both of the following:

                              (i)  the long‑term average sustainable diversion limits proposed in the proposed amendment;

                             (ii)  any other aspect of the proposed amendment in relation to which the Minister may give a direction under subparagraph 48(3)(b)(ii);

                            and specifying the nature of the disagreement.

Note:          Subsection 48(5) specifies matters in relation to which the Minister must not give a direction.

             (4)  If the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council does not give the Authority such a notice within that period of 6 weeks, the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council and its members are taken not to have any comments on the proposed amendment.

             (5)  If the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council gives the Authority a notice that states under paragraph (3)(b) matters with which the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council, or one or more of its members, disagrees, the Authority must:

                     (a)  consider the matters; and

                     (b)  undertake such consultations in relation to the matters as the Authority considers necessary or appropriate; and

                     (c)  either:

                              (i)  confirm the proposed amendment, and give each member of the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council a copy of the unaltered proposed amendment, together with the Authority’s views on the matters; or

                             (ii)  alter the proposed amendment, and give each member of the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council a copy of the altered proposed amendment, together with the Authority’s views on the matters; and

                     (d)  prepare a document that summarises:

                              (i)  any submissions it received in response to the consultations referred to in paragraph (b); and

                             (ii)  how it addressed those submissions; and

                            (iii)  the extent (if any) to which its consideration of those submissions has affected the version of the Plan, or the views, given to the members of the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council under paragraph (c); and

                     (e)  publish on its website a copy of the document prepared under paragraph (d).

             (6)  The Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council must, within 3 weeks after the Authority complied with paragraph (5)(c), give the Minister a written notice:

                     (a)  stating that neither the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council nor any of its members express any further views on the proposed amendment; or

                     (b)  setting out the views of the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council, or one or more of its members, on one or both of the following:

                              (i)  the long‑term average sustainable diversion limits proposed in the proposed amendment;

                             (ii)  any other aspect of the proposed Basin Plan in relation to which the Minister may give a direction under subparagraph 48(3)(b)(ii).

Note:          Subsection 48(5) specifies matters in relation to which the Minister must not give a direction.

             (7)  If the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council does not give the Minister such a notice within that period of 3 weeks, the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council and its members are taken not to express any further views on the proposed amendment.

48  Minister may adopt amendment of Basin Plan

             (1)  Within 12 weeks after the Authority gives the Minister an amendment of the Basin Plan, the Minister must:

                     (a)  consider the amendment; and

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  adopt, in writing, the amendment; or

                             (ii)  give the amendment back to the Authority with suggestions for consideration by the Authority.

             (2)  If the Minister gives the amendment back to the Authority with suggestions, the Authority must:

                     (a)  consider the suggestions; and

                     (b)  undertake such consultations in relation to the suggestions as the Authority considers necessary or appropriate; and

                     (c)  give the Minister either:

                              (i)  an identical version of the amendment; or

                             (ii)  an altered version of the amendment;

                            together with the Authority’s views on the Minister’s suggestions.

             (3)  As soon as practicable after the Authority gives the Minister a version of the amendment under subsection (2), the Minister:

                     (a)  must consider that version of the amendment and the views given to the Minister under subsection (2); and

                     (b)  must either:

                              (i)  adopt, in writing, that version of the amendment; or

                             (ii)  direct the Authority, in writing, to make modifications to that version of the amendment and give it to the Minister for adoption.

             (4)  A direction under subparagraph (3)(b)(ii) is not a legislative instrument.

             (5)  The Minister must not give a direction under subparagraph (3)(b)(ii) in relation to:

                     (a)  any aspect of the Basin Plan that is of a factual or scientific nature; or

                     (b)  without limiting paragraph (a), any of the matters referred to in:

                              (i)  items 1, 2, 3 or 8 of the table in subsection 22(1); or

                             (ii)  subsection 75(1).

          (5A)  To avoid doubt, subsections 47A(4) and (7) do not affect the Minister’s power to give suggestions or directions to the Authority under this section.

             (6)  If the Minister gives a direction under subparagraph (3)(b)(ii):

                     (a)  the Authority must comply with the direction; and

                     (b)  the Minister must adopt, in writing, the amendment given to the Minister in compliance with the direction.

             (7)  When the amendment is laid before a House of the Parliament under the Legislation Act 2003, the Minister must also lay before that House a document that sets out:

                     (a)  any direction the Minister gave under subparagraph (3)(b)(ii) in relation to the amendment; and

                     (b)  the Minister’s reasons for giving that direction.

             (8)  If any part of the amendment was prepared by the Authority because, after having reviewed the Basin Plan under section 50, the Authority was satisfied that the Basin Plan should be amended (see section 52), the Minister must, by notifiable instrument, determine that the amendment affects water resource plan accreditations.

Note:          Broadly, the accreditation of a water resource plan ceases to have effect 3 years after an amendment that affects water resource plan accreditations comes into effect (see subsection 64(1)).

49  Minor or non‑substantive amendments of Basin Plan

             (1)  Despite the other provisions of this Division, the regulations may:

                     (a)  provide that the Authority may make a specified kind of minor, or non‑substantive, amendment of the Basin Plan; and

                     (b)  provide for the process of making those amendments.

             (2)  To avoid doubt, sections 46, 47 and 48 do not apply to amendments of the Basin Plan made in accordance with the regulations made for the purposes of subsection (1).

49AA  Amendment of the Basin Plan that is the same in effect as an amendment that has been disallowed

             (1)  The Minister may direct the Authority, in writing, to prepare an amendment of the Basin Plan if:

                     (a)  the amendment will be the same in effect as an earlier amendment of the Basin Plan (the earlier amendment) that:

                              (i)  has been disallowed (or is taken to have been disallowed) under subsection 42(1) or (2) of the Legislation Act 2003; and

                             (ii)  was prepared under this Subdivision (other than this section); and

                     (b)  the direction is given within the period of 12 months beginning on the day that the earlier amendment is disallowed (or is taken to have been disallowed); and

                     (c)  in the case that an earlier direction has been given under this subsection in relation to the earlier amendment—the amendment prepared in response to that earlier direction was not adopted by the Minister.

             (2)  The Authority must comply with a direction under subsection (1) by preparing the amendment, and giving it to the Minister for adoption, as soon as practicable.

             (3)  As soon as practicable after receiving the amendment, the Minister must either:

                     (a)  adopt, in writing, the amendment; or

                     (b)  give the Authority notice, in writing, that the Minister has decided not to adopt the amendment.

             (4)  Sections 46 to 48 do not apply to an amendment of the Basin Plan that is to be prepared, or is prepared or adopted, in accordance with this section.

             (5)  A direction under subsection (1) is a legislative instrument, but neither section 42 (disallowance) nor Part 4 of Chapter 3 (sunsetting) of the Legislation Act 2003 applies to the direction.

             (6)  For the purposes of (and without limiting) this section, including in the amendment one or more of the following changes does not prevent the amendment from being the same in effect as the earlier amendment:

                     (a) a change that is required because another amendment of the Basin Plan has commenced after the commencement of the earlier amendment;

                     (b)  a change that is required because a requirement under the Basin Plan has already occurred, or been met, after the commencement of the earlier amendment;

                     (c)  a change that causes the amendment to commence later than the earlier amendment.

Note:          There are other kinds of changes that also do not prevent the amendment from being the same in effect as the earlier amendment. For example, minor or non‑substantive amendments of the kind specified for the purposes of paragraph 49(1)(a).

Subdivision GReview of Basin Plan

49A  Authority to advise Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council on impacts of Basin Plan

             (1)  The Authority must, before the end of 2020, give advice to the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council on the impacts of the Basin Plan.

             (2)  The Authority must make a copy of the advice available on the Authority’s website.

50  Review of Basin Plan—general

Regular 10 yearly reviews

             (1)  The Authority must:

                     (a)  review the Basin Plan during 2026 if the Authority has not reviewed the Basin Plan under subsection (2), and given the Minister a report of that review, before the start of that year; and

                     (b)  review the Basin Plan during the tenth year of the period (the post‑report period) that starts when the Authority gives the Minister a report of a review of the Basin Plan under paragraph (5)(b) if the Authority has not reviewed the Basin Plan under subsection (2), and given the Minister a report of that review, after the start of the post‑report period and before the start of that year.

Review requested by Minister or Basin States

             (2)  The Authority must review the Basin Plan if:

                     (a)  the Minister requests the Authority to do so; or

                     (b)  all of the Basin States request the Authority to do so.

             (3)  The Minister or a Basin State may make a request under subsection (2) only if satisfied that:

                     (a)  the outcomes specified for the Basin Plan are not being achieved; or

                     (b)  the objectives specified for the Basin Plan are no longer appropriate for Basin water resources or for one or more water resource plan areas.

             (4)  A request under subsection (2) must not be made within the first 5 years after the Basin Plan first takes effect or within 5 years after the Authority gives the Minister the report of the most recent review of the Basin Plan.

Report of review

             (5)  The Authority must:

                     (a)  prepare a report of the results of the review under subsection (1) or (2); and

                     (b)  give the report to the Minister; and

                     (c)  give a copy of the report to the relevant State Minister for each Basin State; and

                     (d)  make a copy of the report available on the Authority’s website.

             (6)  Subsection (5) must be complied with in relation to a review under subsection (1) before the end of the year during which the review is conducted.

51  Authority to prepare discussion paper and seek submissions

             (1)  This section applies if the Authority undertakes a review of the Basin Plan.

             (2)  The Authority must consult with:

                     (a)  the Basin States; and

                     (b)  the Basin Officials Committee; and

                     (c)  the Basin Community Committee;

in preparing a discussion paper in relation to the review.

             (3)  In preparing the discussion paper, the Authority may undertake such other consultation as it considers appropriate.

             (4)  Without limiting subsection (3), the discussion paper must set out the issues to be addressed in the review.

             (5)  The Authority must make the discussion paper available on its website.

             (6)  The Authority must:

                     (a)  give a copy of the discussion paper to the relevant State Minister for each of the Basin States; and

                     (b)  invite the Basin State to make submissions to the Authority on the review; and

                     (c)  allow the Basin State at least 12 weeks from when the invitation is given to make submissions to the Authority on the review.

             (7)  The Authority must:

                     (a)  publish an invitation to members of the public to make submissions to the Authority on the review; and

                     (b)  allow at least 12 weeks from the start of the consultation period for submissions to be made to the Authority on the review.

             (8)  The invitation under paragraph (7)(a) must be published:

                     (a)  in the Gazette; and

                     (b)  in a newspaper circulating generally in each Basin State; and

                     (c)  on the Authority’s website.

The consultation period starts when the invitation is published in the Gazette.

             (9)  The invitation under paragraph (7)(a) must:

                     (a)  specify how a person may obtain a copy of the discussion paper; and

                     (b)  specify a physical address, and an email address, to which a person may send submissions on the review to the Authority; and

                     (c)  specify the date by which submissions must be received by the Authority; and

                     (d)  indicate that submissions that a person makes to the Authority on the review will be published on the Authority’s website unless the person specifically requests the Authority to treat the submissions (or a particular part of the submissions) confidentially.

           (11)  The Authority must publish on its website the submissions it receives on the review in response to the invitations issued under subsections (6) and (7).

           (12)  Subsection (11) does not apply to the submissions (or a part of the submissions) that a person makes to the Authority if the person requests the Authority to treat the submissions (or that part of the submissions) confidentially.

Note:          See paragraph (9)(d).

           (13)  The Authority must consider any submissions it receives in response to the invitations issued under subsections (6) and (7).

52  Review may lead to amendment of Basin Plan

                   If, after having reviewed the Basin Plan under section 50, the Authority is satisfied that the Basin Plan should be amended, the Authority may, under section 45, prepare an amendment of the Basin Plan and give it to the Minister for adoption.

Note 1:       Subdivision F applies to the preparation and making of the amendment of the Basin Plan.

Note 2:       An amendment of the Basin Plan prepared as mentioned in this section will be an amendment that affects water resource plan accreditations (see subsection 48(8)). Broadly, the accreditation of a water resource plan ceases to have effect 3 years after such an amendment comes into effect (see subsection 64(1)).

Subdivision HAnnual analysis of Basin Plan’s effectiveness

52A  Annual analysis of Basin Plan’s effectiveness

             (1)  The Authority must, after the end of each financial year, cause an analysis of the Basin Plan’s effectiveness to be conducted.

             (2)  The Authority must prepare and give to the Minister a written report of the analysis within 6 months after the end of the financial year.

             (3)  The Minister must cause a copy of the report to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the Minister receives the report.

             (4)  A copy of the report must also be given to each other member of the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council.

Division 2Water resource plans for particular water resource plan areas

Subdivision AIntroduction

53  Simplified outline

             (1)  This section sets out a simplified outline of this Division.

             (2)  There is to be a water resource plan for each water resource plan area.

             (3)  The Minister may accredit a water resource plan that is prepared by a Basin State for the water resource plan area.

             (4)  Alternatively, the Minister may adopt a water resource plan that is prepared by the Authority for the water resource plan area.

Note:          Division 3 provides for the special procedures to be followed if the Minister is to exercise the power referred to in this subsection.

Subdivision BWater resource plans

54  Water resource plans for water resource plan areas

             (1)  There is to be a water resource plan for each water resource plan area.

Note:          The water resource plan areas are identified in the Basin Plan (see item 2 of the table in subsection 22(1)).

             (2)  The water resource plan must be either:

                     (a)  one that the Minister accredits under section 63; or

                     (b)  one that the Minister adopts under section 69.

             (3)  A water resource plan that the Minister accredits under section 63:

                     (a)  does not take effect for the purposes of this Act before the Minister accredits the plan under that section; and

                     (b)  ceases to have effect for the purposes of this Act if the Minister adopts a water resource plan for the water resource plan area under section 69.

55  Content of water resource plan

             (1)  A water resource plan for a water resource plan area must provide for the management of the water resources of the water resource plan area.

             (2)  The water resource plan must be consistent with the relevant Basin Plan, including:

                     (a)  the requirements for water resource plans; and

                     (b)  any long‑term annual diversion limit for the water resources of the water resource plan area (or for a particular part of those water resources).

The relevant Basin Plan for the water resource plan is the version of the Basin Plan that the Minister applies in relation to the water resource plan under subsection 56(2).

             (3)  In determining whether the water resource plan is consistent with the relevant Basin Plan, regard must be had to the legislative framework within which the water resource plan operates.

56  General basis for accrediting and making water resource plans

Matters to which Authority and Minister are to have regard

             (1)  In exercising their powers, and performing their functions, under this Division in relation to a water resource plan for a water resource plan area, the Authority and the Minister must have regard to:

                     (a)  the Basin Plan; and

                     (b)  the extent to which the water resource plan is consistent with the Basin Plan.

Version of Basin Plan to be applied—general

             (2)  For the purposes of applying subsection (1) to the exercise of a particular power, or the performance of a particular function, the Basin Plan that is to be applied is (subject to subsection (2A)) the Basin Plan as in effect when the power is exercised or the function is performed.

Version of Basin Plan to be applied—accrediting water resource plans prepared by Basin States

          (2A)  If the exercise of the power, or the performance of the function, is in relation to a proposed water resource plan for a water resource plan area that is:

                     (a)  given to the Minister under Subdivision D (accrediting water resource plans prepared by Basin States); and

                     (b)  covered by an item in the following table;

the Basin Plan that is to be applied is worked out in accordance with that item.

 

Version of Basin Plan to be applied for proposed water resource plans given under Subdivision D

Item

If …

the Basin Plan to be applied is …

1

the proposed water resource plan is given to the Minister under subsection 63(3) before the report of the first review of the Basin Plan is given to the Minister under paragraph 50(5)(b)

the Basin Plan as in effect 2 years before the proposed water resource plan is given under that subsection, unless the proposed water resource plan is covered by item 4.

2

both of the following apply:

(a) the proposed water resource plan is given to the Minister under subsection 63(3) after the report of the first review of the Basin Plan is given to the Minister under paragraph 50(5)(b);

(b) an amendment of the Basin Plan that affects water resource plan accreditations came into effect within 3 years before the proposed water resource plan is so given

the Basin Plan as in effect immediately after that amendment came into effect, unless the proposed water resource plan is covered by item 4.

3

all of the following apply:

(a) the proposed water resource plan is given to the Minister under subsection 63(3) after the report of the first review of the Basin Plan is given to the Minister under paragraph 50(5)(b);

(b) the most recent report was given under that paragraph within 3 years before the giving of the proposed water resource plan under that subsection;

(c) an amendment of the Basin Plan that affects water resource plan accreditations did not come into effect during that 3 year period

the Basin Plan as in effect immediately before the most recent report was given under that paragraph, unless the proposed water resource plan is covered by item 4.

4

all of the following apply:

(a) the Basin State when giving the proposed water resource plan under subsection 63(3) also gives the Authority a written notice nominating a version of the Basin Plan as in effect at a specified time to be applied;

(b) the nominated version is not an earlier version of the Basin Plan than that which would otherwise have been applied under item 1, 2 or 3;

(c) the nominated version is not a later version of the Basin Plan than that which would otherwise have been applied under subsection (2) of this section

the nominated version of the Basin Plan.

Minister to have regard to Authority’s advice

             (3)  In exercising a power, or performing a function, under this Division in relation to a water resource plan for a water resource plan area, the Minister must have regard to the advice that the Authority gives the Minister in relation to the exercise of that power or the performance of that function.

Subdivision CEffect of a water resource plan

57  Water resource plan adopted under section 69 is a legislative instrument

                   A water resource plan adopted under section 69:

                     (a)  is a legislative instrument; and

                     (b)  is taken to be made by the Minister on the day on which the Minister adopts the plan under section 69.

58  Effect of water resource plan on Authority and other agencies of the Commonwealth

             (1)  The Authority, and any other agency of the Commonwealth, must perform its functions, and exercise its powers, consistently with, and in a manner that gives effect to, a water resource plan for a water resource plan area.

             (2)  To avoid doubt, subsection (1) does not apply to the Authority’s or the Minister’s functions and powers under this Division or under Division 1.

             (3)  Subsection (1) has effect subject to regulations made for the purposes of section 62.

59  Effect of water resource plan on other agencies and bodies

             (1)  The Basin Officials Committee, an agency of a Basin State, an operating authority, an infrastructure operator or the holder of a water access right must not:

                     (a)  do an act in relation to water resources of a water resource plan area if the act is inconsistent with the water resource plan for the area; or

                     (b)  fail to do an act in relation to water resources of a water resource plan area if the failure to do that act is inconsistent with the water resource plan for the area.

             (2)  Subsection (1) applies to an act of an agency of a Basin State only if the act is one that relates to the use or management of the Basin water resources.

             (3)  Subsection (1) has effect subject to regulations made for the purposes of section 62.

60  Constitutional operation of section 59 (general)

             (1)  Section 59 imposes an obligation to the extent to which imposing the obligation gives effect to a relevant international agreement.

             (2)  Section 59 imposes an obligation to the extent to which the obligation is imposed:

                     (a)  on a constitutional corporation; or

                     (b)  in relation to conduct that affects the activities of a constitutional corporation.

             (3)  Section 59 imposes an obligation to the extent to which the obligation is imposed in relation to conduct that takes place in the course of trade or commerce:

                     (a)  with other countries; or

                     (b)  among the States; or

                     (c)  between a State and a Territory.

Note:          This subsection is of particular relevance to the provisions of the water resource plan that deal with the trading or transfer of tradeable water rights.

             (4)  Section 59 imposes an obligation to the extent to which the obligation is imposed in relation to conduct that takes place in a Territory.

             (6)  Subsections (1), (2), (3) and (4):

                     (a)  have effect independently of each other; and

                     (b)  do not limit section 61; and

                     (c)  do not limit the operation (if any) that section 59 validly has apart from this section.

             (7)  In this section:

conduct includes an act or omission.

61  Constitutional operation of section 59 (water trading rules)

             (1)  This section deals with the provisions of a water resource plan to the extent to which they deal with the trading or transfer of a tradeable water right in relation to Basin water resources.

             (2)  Section 59 imposes obligations in relation to the provisions if at least one of the parties to the trading or the transfer is a constitutional corporation.

             (3)  Section 59 imposes obligations in relation to the provisions if the trading or transfer takes place in the course of trade and commerce:

                     (a)  between the States; or

                     (b)  between a State and a Territory.

             (4)  Section 59 imposes obligations in relation to the provisions if:

                     (a)  the trading or transfer takes place in a Territory; or

                     (b)  the trading or transfer relates to tradeable water rights in relation to a water resource in a Territory.

             (5)  Section 59 imposes obligations in relation to the provisions if at least one element of the trading or transfer takes place using a postal, telegraphic, telephonic or other like service (within the meaning of paragraph 51(v) of the Constitution).

             (7)  Subsections (2), (3), (4) and (5):

                     (a)  have effect independently of each other; and

                     (b)  do not limit section 60; and

                     (c)  do not limit the operation (if any) that section 59 validly has apart from this section.

62  Regulations may provide for exceptions

             (1)  Without limiting section 250E, the regulations may provide that subsections 58(1) and 59(1) do not apply to the activities specified in the regulations.

             (2)  Without limiting subsection (1), the regulations:

                     (a)  may provide that subsections 58(1) and 59(1) do not apply to a particular activity only if the conditions specified in the regulations are satisfied; and

                     (b)  may provide that subsections 58(1) and 59(1) do not apply to a particular activity only for the period specified in the regulations.

Subdivision DAccrediting water resource plans prepared by Basin States

63  Accrediting water resource plans prepared by Basin States

             (1)  A Basin State may:

                     (a)  give the Authority a proposed water resource plan for a water resource plan area that is located within the Basin State; and

                     (b)  ask the Authority to give the proposed water resource plan to the Minister for accreditation.

The proposed water resource plan may be constituted by 2 or more instruments.

Note:          The surface water of the Googong Dam Area is to be treated as if it were located in the Australian Capital Territory (see section 63A).

             (2)  If the water resource plan area is adjacent to a water resource plan area located in another Basin State, the proposed water resource plan must be prepared in consultation with that other Basin State.

             (3)  The Authority must:

                     (a)  consider the proposed water resource plan; and

                     (b)  prepare recommendations for the Minister on whether the proposed water resource plan should be accredited; and

                     (c)  give the Minister the proposed water resource plan and the recommendations.

             (4)  The Authority must not recommend that the Minister not accredit the proposed water resource plan unless the Authority:

                     (a)  gives the Basin State written notice of the grounds on which the Authority considers that it should recommend that the Minister not accredit the plan; and

                     (b)  gives the Basin State the opportunity to make submissions to the Authority, within the period of 14 days after the notice referred to in paragraph (a) is given, in relation to the grounds set out in the notice; and

                     (c)  has regard to the submissions made by the Basin State within that period in deciding what recommendations to make to the Minister in relation to the proposed water resource plan.

The Authority may, in writing, extend or further extend the period referred to in paragraph (b).

             (5)  If the Authority gives the Minister a proposed water resource plan and recommendations under subsection (3), the Minister:

                     (a)  must consider the proposed water resource plan and the recommendations; and

                     (b)  may either:

                              (i)  accredit the plan; or

                             (ii)  not accredit the plan.

             (6)  The Minister must accredit the plan if the Minister is satisfied that the plan is consistent with the relevant Basin Plan. The relevant Basin Plan for the water resource plan is the version of the Basin Plan that the Minister applies in relation to the water resource plan under subsection 56(2).

             (7)  The decision by the Minister to accredit, or not to accredit, the plan:

                     (a)  must be made in writing; and

                     (b)  is a legislative instrument, but section 42 (disallowance) of the Legislation Act 2003 does not apply to the decision.

             (8)  If:

                     (a)  the Minister decides to accredit, or not to accredit, a proposed water resource plan under subsection (5); and

                     (b)  that decision does not follow a recommendation that the Authority gives the Minister under subsection (3);

the Minister must, when the Minister’s decision is laid before a House of the Parliament under the Legislation Act 2003, cause a copy of a statement that sets out the Minister’s reasons for not following the Authority’s recommendation to be laid before that House.

             (9)  The regulations may provide for:

                     (a)  the time within which the steps provided for in this section are to be taken; and

                     (b)  the process to be followed in taking the steps provided for in this section.

63A  Googong Dam Area to be treated as if located in the Australian Capital Territory

                   For the purposes of this Act, the surface water of the Googong Dam Area (within the meaning of the Canberra Water Supply (Googong Dam) Act 1974) is to be treated as if it were located in the Australian Capital Territory (and not in New South Wales).

64  Duration of accreditation

             (1)  The accreditation of a water resource plan ceases to have effect at the earlier of the following times:

                     (a)  when the water resource plan ceases to have effect;

                     (b)  the end of the period of 3 years after an amendment of the Basin Plan that affects water resource plan accreditations comes into effect, if the version of the Basin Plan used under subsection 63(6) in accrediting the water resource plan was in effect before that amendment came into effect.

Note:          For when an amendment of the Basin Plan affects water resource plan accreditations, see subsection 48(8).

             (2)  The Minister may extend, or further extend, the 3 year period mentioned in paragraph (1)(b). The extension or further extension must be made in writing.

             (3)  An extension or further extension made under subsection (2) is a legislative instrument, but section 42 (disallowance) of the Legislation Act 2003 does not apply to the extension or further extension.

             (4)  An extension or further extension made under subsection (2) must not have the effect of extending the 3 year period mentioned in paragraph (1)(b) by more than one year.

             (5)  An extension of a period under subsection (2) cannot be made after the end of the period or the period as previously extended.

65  Accrediting amendments of accredited water resource plans

             (1)  An amendment of a water resource plan accredited under section 63 has no effect for the purposes of this Act unless the amendment is accredited under this section or section 66.

             (2)  A Basin State may:

                     (a)  give the Authority a proposed amendment of a water resource plan that is accredited under section 63 for a water resource plan area that is located within the Basin State; and

                     (b)  ask the Authority to give the proposed amendment to the Minister for accreditation.

Note:          The surface water of the Googong Dam Area is to be treated as if it were located in the Australian Capital Territory (see section 63A).

             (3)  The Authority must:

                     (a)  consider the proposed amendment; and

                     (b)  prepare recommendations for the Minister on whether the proposed amendment should be accredited; and

                     (c)  give the Minister the proposed amendment and the recommendations.

             (4)  The Authority must not recommend that the Minister not accredit the proposed amendment unless the Authority:

                     (a)  gives the Basin State written notice of the grounds on which the Authority considers that it should recommend that the Minister not accredit the amendment; and

                     (b)  gives the Basin State the opportunity to make submissions to the Authority, within the period of 14 days after the notice referred to in paragraph (a) is given, in relation to the grounds set out in the notice; and

                     (c)  has regard to the submissions made by the Basin State within that period in deciding what recommendations to make to the Minister in relation to the amendment.

The Authority may, in writing, extend or further extend the period referred to in paragraph (b).

             (5)  If the Authority gives the Minister a proposed amendment of a water resource plan and recommendations under subsection (4), the Minister:

                     (a)  must consider the amendment and the recommendations; and

                     (b)  may either:

                              (i)  accredit the amendment; or

                             (ii)  not accredit the amendment.

             (6)  The Minister must accredit the amendment if the Minister is satisfied that the water resource plan, as amended, would be consistent with the Basin Plan.

             (7)  The decision by the Minister to accredit, or not to accredit, the amendment:

                     (a)  must be made in writing; and

                     (b)  is a legislative instrument, but section 42 (disallowance) of the Legislation Act 2003 does not apply to the decision.

             (8)  If:

                     (a)  the Minister decides to accredit, or not to accredit, a proposed amendment of a water resource plan under subsection (5); and

                     (b)  that decision does not follow a recommendation that the Authority gives the Minister under subsection (3);

the Minister must, when the Minister’s decision is laid before a House of the Parliament under the Legislation Act 2003, cause a copy of a statement that sets out the Minister’s reasons for not following the Authority’s recommendation to be laid before that House.

             (9)  The regulations may provide for:

                     (a)  the time within which the steps provided for in this section are to be taken; and

                     (b)  the process to be followed in taking the steps provided for in this section.

66  Accrediting minor or non‑substantive amendments of accredited water resource plans

             (1)  The regulations may provide that a particular kind of minor, or non‑substantive, amendment of a water resource plan accredited under section 63 is a kind of amendment to which this section applies.

             (2)  If:

                     (a)  a water resource plan accredited under section 63 is amended; and

                     (b)  the amendment is of a kind to which this section applies; and

                     (c)  the Basin State concerned notifies the Authority within 14 days after the amendment is made;

the amendment is taken to have been accredited under section 65 at the time when the notice referred to in paragraph (c) is given to the Authority.

             (3)  The Authority may, in writing, extend or further extend the period referred to in paragraph (2)(c).

67  Authority may assist Basin State to prepare water resource plan

                   The Authority may advise, or assist, a Basin State in preparing a water resource plan, or an amendment of a water resource plan, to be given to the Minister for accreditation under section 63 or 65.

Subdivision EWater resource plans prepared by Authority and adopted by Minister

68  Minister may request Authority to prepare water resource plan

             (1)  The Minister may request the Authority to prepare a water resource plan for a water resource plan area if:

                     (a)  subsection (2), (3), (4) or (5) is satisfied; and

                     (b)  the requirements of Division 3 are satisfied.

This subsection does not apply to a water resource plan area if a transitional water resource plan is in effect in relation to the area under Part 11.

             (2)  This subsection is satisfied if the Basin State in which the area is located does not give the Authority a water resource plan for the area under section 63 in accordance with the regulations made for the purposes of subsection 63(9).

             (3)  This subsection is satisfied if:

                     (a)  the Basin State in which the area is located gives the Authority a water resource plan for the area under section 63; and

                     (b)  the Minister decides under subsection 63(5) not to accredit the water resource plan because the water resource plan is not consistent with the Basin Plan.

             (4)  This subsection is satisfied if:

                     (a)  a water resource plan for the area is accredited under section 63; and

                     (b)  a review of the water resource plan is undertaken under:

                              (i)  a State water management law; or

                             (ii)  the water resource plan itself; and

                     (c)  the report of the review recommends that the water resource plan be amended; and

                     (d)  the Basin State in which the area is located does not give the Authority an amendment of the water resource plan under section 65 within a reasonable time after the recommendation is made.

             (5)  This subsection is satisfied if:

                     (a)  a water resource plan for the area is accredited under section 63; and

                     (b)  there is a review of the water resource plan; and

                     (c)  the report of the review recommends that the water resource plan be amended; and

                     (d)  the Basin State in which the area is located gives the Authority an amendment of the water resource plan under section 65; and

                     (e)  the Minister decides under subsection 65(5) not to accredit the amendment because the amendment is not consistent with the Basin Plan.

             (6)  If the Minister requests the Authority to prepare a water resource plan for a water resource plan area under subsection (1), the Authority must:

                     (a)  prepare a water resource plan for the area in accordance with the process set out in the regulations; and

                     (b)  give the water resource plan to the Minister for adoption.

             (7)  In preparing the water resource plan, the Authority must have regard to the requirements of the laws of the Basin State in which the water resource plan area is located.

Note:          Under section 109 of the Constitution, any State laws that are inconsistent with the Basin Plan will be of no effect to the extent of the inconsistency.

             (8)  If subsection (3) applies, the Authority must incorporate the provisions of the water resource plan that the Basin State gives the Authority under section 63 to the extent to which it is possible to do so consistently with the Basin Plan.

             (9)  If subsection (5) applies, the Authority must incorporate the provisions of:

                     (a)  the existing water resource plan; and

                     (b)  the amendment that the Basin State gives the Authority under section 65;

to the extent to which it is possible to do so consistently with the Basin Plan.

           (10)  If the water resource plan area is adjacent to a water resource plan area located in a different Basin State, the Authority must prepare the plan in consultation with that Basin State.

Note:          The surface water of the Googong Dam Area is to be treated as if it were located in the Australian Capital Territory (see section 63A).

69  Minister may adopt water resource plan

             (1)  Within 60 days after the Authority gives the Minister a water resource plan for a water resource plan area under paragraph 68(6)(b), the Minister must:

                     (a)  consider the water resource plan; and

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  adopt the water resource plan; or

                             (ii)  give the water resource plan back to the Authority with suggestions for consideration by the Authority.

             (2)  If the Minister gives the water resource plan back to the Authority with suggestions, the Authority must:

                     (a)  consider the suggestions; and

                     (b)  undertake such consultations in relation to the suggestions as the Authority considers necessary or appropriate; and

                     (c)  give the Minister either:

                              (i)  an identical version of the water resource plan; or

                             (ii)  an altered version of the water resource plan;

                            together with the Authority’s views on the Minister’s suggestions; and

                     (d)  prepare a document that summarises:

                              (i)  any submissions it received in response to the consultations referred to in paragraph (b); and

                             (ii)  how it addressed those submissions; and

                            (iii)  the extent (if any) to which its consideration of those submissions has affected the version or views given to the Minister under paragraph (c).

             (3)  Within 30 days after the Authority gives the Minister a version of the water resource plan under subsection (2), the Minister must:

                     (a)  consider that version of the water resource plan and the views given to the Minister under subsection (2); and

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  adopt that version of the water resource plan; or

                             (ii)  direct the Authority, in writing, to make modifications to that version of the water resource plan and give it to the Minister for adoption.

             (4)  A direction under subparagraph (3)(b)(ii) is not a legislative instrument.

             (5)  The Minister must not give a direction under subparagraph (3)(b)(ii) in relation to any aspect of the water resource plan that is of a factual or scientific nature.

             (6)  If the Minister gives a direction under subparagraph (3)(b)(ii):

                     (a)  the Authority must comply with the direction; and

                     (b)  the Minister must adopt the water resource plan given to the Minister in compliance with the direction.

             (7)  When the water resource plan is laid before a House of the Parliament under the Legislation Act 2003, the Minister must also lay before that House a document that sets out:

                     (a)  any direction the Minister gave under subparagraph (3)(b)(ii) in relation to the water resource plan; and

                     (b)  the Minister’s reasons for giving that direction.

70  Duration of plan adopted under section 69

                   A water resource plan adopted under section 69 has effect for the period specified in the water resource plan.

Subdivision FReporting obligations

71  Reporting obligations of Basin States

             (1)  A Basin State must, within 4 months after the end of a water accounting period for a water resource plan area in the Basin State give the Authority a written report that sets out the following:

                     (a)  the quantity of water available from the water resources of the water resource plan area during that water accounting period;

                     (b)  the quantity of water permitted to be taken from the water resources of the water resource plan area during the water accounting period;

                     (c)  the quantity of water actually taken from the water resources of the water resource plan area during the water accounting period;

                     (d)  details of the water allocations made in relation to the water resources of that area in relation to that water accounting period;

                     (e)  details of any other decisions made by, or under the law of, the Basin State, that permit the taking of water from the water resources of that area during that water accounting period;

                      (f)  details of the trading or transfer of tradeable water rights in relation to the water resources of that area during that water accounting period:

                              (i)  within the area; and

                             (ii)  into the area; and

                            (iii)  from the area;

                     (g)  an assessment of compliance with any long‑term annual diversion limit for the water resources of the area, or for a particular part of those water resources, in accordance with the method specified in the Basin Plan;

                     (h)  if there has been non‑compliance with any long‑term annual diversion limit for the water resources of the area, or for a particular part of those water resources—the actions that the Basin State proposes to take to ensure that the limit is complied with in the future.

Note 1:       The surface water of the Googong Dam Area is to be treated as if it were located in the Australian Capital Territory (see section 63A).

Note 2:       A Basin State must also provide information, in writing, to the Inspector‑General about some of the matters referred to in this subsection (see the Basin Plan).

             (2)  The Authority may, in writing, extend the period within which the report must be given to the Authority.

             (3)  The Authority must give a copy of each report received under subsection (1) to the Inspector‑General as soon as practicable after the Authority receives it.

Division 3Procedures to be followed before taking step‑in action

72  Scope of Division

             (1)  This Division provides for the procedure to be followed before the exercise of the power of the Minister to request the Authority under section 68 to prepare a water resource plan for a water resource plan area located in a Basin State.

             (2)  This power is the step‑in power.

             (3)  The Basin State is the affected Basin State.

73  Procedure to be followed before exercising step‑in power

Good faith negotiation

             (1)  The Minister must negotiate in good faith with the affected Basin State, and any relevant agency of the affected Basin State, with a view to dealing effectively with the circumstances without the exercise of the step‑in power.

Preliminary notice

             (2)  Before the Minister exercises the step‑in power in relation to particular circumstances, the Minister must give the relevant State Minister for the affected Basin State a preliminary notice that:

                     (a)  specifies the circumstances; and

                     (b)  sets out the Minister’s reasons for being satisfied that the circumstances give rise to the step‑in power; and

                     (c)  indicates that the Minister is considering exercising the step‑in power; and

                     (d)  indicates that the Minister is willing to engage in a mediation process in relation to the circumstances; and

                     (e)  requests the Basin State to notify the Minister, in writing, within 2 weeks after the notice under this subsection is given, whether the Basin State is also willing to engage in a mediation process in relation to the circumstances.

Mediation

             (3)  If the affected Basin State indicates that it is willing to engage in a mediation process in relation to the circumstances, the mediator is to be:

                     (a)  a person determined by agreement between the Minister and the Basin State; or

                     (b)  a person nominated by the President of the Law Council of Australia if the Minister and the Basin State do not agree on a person to be the mediator.

             (4)  The process for the mediation is to be:

                     (a)  the process agreed by the Minister and the affected Basin State; or

                     (b)  the process determined by the mediator if the Minister and the affected Basin State do not agree on the process for the mediation.

             (5)  Representatives of the Minister must attend any mediation sessions called by the mediator.

             (6)  The affected Basin State is to be taken to have indicated that it is not willing to engage in a mediation process in relation to the circumstances if it does not give the notice requested in paragraph (2)(e) within the period of 2 weeks referred to in that paragraph.

Formal notice

             (7)  The Minister may give the relevant State Minister for the affected Basin State a notice under subsection (8) if:

                     (a)  the Basin State has indicated that it is not willing to engage in a mediation process in relation to the circumstances and the period of 1 month starting on the day on which the notice was given under subsection (2) ends; or

                     (b)  the Basin State has indicated that it is willing to engage in a mediation process in relation to the circumstances and the period of 2 months starting on the day on which the notice was given under subsection (2) ends.

             (8)  The notice under this subsection is a notice that:

                     (a)  specifies the circumstances that, in the Minister’s opinion, give rise to the step‑in power; and

                     (b)  sets out the Minister’s reasons for being satisfied that the circumstances give rise to the step‑in power; and

                     (c)  specifies the action or actions that the Minister considers would deal with the circumstances without the exercise of the step‑in power; and

                     (d)  specifies the time within which the action or actions should be taken; and

                     (e)  indicates that the Minister will consider exercising the step‑in power if the action or actions are not taken within the time referred to in paragraph (d); and

                      (f)  requests the affected Basin State to respond to the notice within the period specified in the notice.

             (9)  The period specified under paragraph (8)(f) must end at least 1 month after the notice under subsection (8) is given to the affected Basin State.

           (10)  A copy of the notice under subsection (8) must be given to the relevant State Ministers of each of the other Basin States.

Affected Basin State response to formal notice

           (11)  The affected Basin State may respond to the notice under subsection (8) within:

                     (a)  the period specified under paragraph (8)(f); or

                     (b)  such longer period as the Minister allows.

           (12)  In its response to the notice under subsection (8), the affected Basin State may:

                     (a)  raise any issues that the Basin State considers appropriate; and

                     (b)  draw attention to any facts or matters in relation to the circumstances that the Basin State considers should be taken into account; and

                     (c)  draw attention to any mitigating factors in relation to the circumstances; and

                     (d)  propose a variation of, or an alternative to, the action or actions specified under paragraph (8)(c).

Notice of intention to proceed to a decision

           (13)  If:

                     (a)  the affected Basin State does not respond under subsection (11); or

                     (b)  the affected Basin State responds under subsection (11) and the Minister, having considered the response, intends to proceed to consider whether to exercise the step‑in power;

the Minister must give the Basin State a notice that:

                     (c)  indicates that the Minister intends to proceed to consider whether to exercise the step‑in power; and

                     (d)  sets out the Minister’s reasons for intending to do so.

Decision to exercise step‑in power

           (14)  The Minister may exercise the step‑in power only if:

                     (a)  the process provided for in subsections (2) to (13), or that process as varied by agreement in writing between the Minister and the affected Basin State, has been followed; and

                     (b)  the period of 2 weeks starting on the day on which the Minister gave the notice under subsection (13) has ended; and

                     (c)  the Minister has considered the response (if any) of the affected Basin State under subsection (11); and

                     (d)  the Minister is satisfied that:

                              (i)  circumstances that give rise to the step‑in power exist; and

                             (ii)  the circumstances, if not dealt with, will materially and adversely impact on the efficient or effective implementation of the Basin Plan; and

                            (iii)  the exercise of the step‑in power would be an effective means for dealing with the circumstances; and

                            (iv)  there is no other feasible and effective alternative way of dealing with the circumstances.

           (15)  If the Minister decides to exercise the step‑in power, the Minister must set out, in the document by which the step‑in power is exercised, when the exercise of the step‑in power will end.

           (16)  Without limiting subsection (15), the document may specify that the exercise of the step‑in power will end:

                     (a)  at the end of a particular period of time; or

                     (b)  when a specified action is taken; or

                     (c)  when specified circumstances exist; or

                     (d)  when the Minister is satisfied that specified conditions have been met.

           (17)  The extent, and duration, of the exercise of the step‑in power must be limited to what is reasonable to deal with the circumstances that give rise to the exercise of the step‑in power.

Notices not legislative instruments

           (18)  A notice under subsection (2), (8) or (13) is not a legislative instrument.

Division 3AOffences and civil penalty provisions

Subdivision AContraventions of laws relating to taking water from a water resource

73A  Taking water when not permitted under State law—basic contravention

             (1)  A person contravenes this subsection if:

                     (a)  the person engages in conduct; and

                     (b)  the conduct results in water being taken from a water resource; and

                     (c)  a water resource plan for a water resource plan area applies to the water resource; and

                     (d)  the taking of the water would constitute a contravention of the law of a State if any fault element or state of mind requirement were to be satisfied in relation to the taking of the water (the potential State contravention).

Fault‑based offence

             (2)  A person commits an offence if the person contravenes subsection (1).

Note:          See section 170A in relation to the physical elements of the offence.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 3 years or 180 penalty units, or both.

             (3)  For the purposes of subsection (2):

                     (a)  recklessness applies to paragraph (1)(b); and

                     (b)  strict liability applies to paragraphs (1)(c) and (d).

             (4)  In a prosecution for an offence against subsection (2), it is not necessary to prove the existence of any fault element or state of mind requirement in relation to the potential State contravention.

Civil penalty provision

             (5)  A person is liable to a civil penalty if the person contravenes subsection (1).

Note:          In proceedings against a person for a contravention of a civil penalty provision, it is generally not necessary to prove the person’s state of mind (see section 154C).

Civil penalty:

                     (a)  for an individual—1,000 penalty units; or

                     (b)  for a body corporate—10,000 penalty units.

Presumption about taking water by means of works

             (6)  For the purposes of subsection (5), if water was taken from a water resource by means of works that were on or beneath land (whether or not the works were attached to the land) at any time when the water was taken, then it must be presumed (in the absence of evidence to the contrary) that the water was taken by:

                     (a)  unless paragraph (b) applies, the person (the owner) who owned the land at any time when the water was taken; or

                     (b)  if a person other than the owner occupied the land at all times when the water was taken—that person.

Defences

             (7)  In a proceeding against a person (the first person) for an alleged contravention of subsection (1), it is not necessary for the person who instituted the proceeding to prove that no exception, exemption, excuse, qualification or justification provided by the law of the State applies in relation to the potential State contravention.

             (8)  However:

                     (a)  the first person may rely on an exception, exemption, excuse, qualification or justification referred to in subsection (7) if the exception, exemption, excuse, qualification or justification does not involve determining the first person’s state of mind; and

                     (b)  if the first person wishes to rely on such an exception, exemption, excuse, qualification or justification, the first person bears an evidential burden in relation to that matter.

Note:          For evidential burden, see subsection 4(1) of this Act.

             (9)  To avoid doubt, nothing in subsection (7) or (8) is intended to exclude the operation of Part 2.3 of the Criminal Code or section 154D of this Act (mistake of fact in relation to contraventions of civil penalty provisions) in relation to an alleged contravention of subsection (1).

73B  Taking water when not permitted under State law—aggravated contravention

             (1)  A person contravenes this subsection if:

                     (a)  the person engages in conduct; and

                     (b)  the conduct results in water being taken from a water resource; and

                     (c)  a water resource plan for a water resource plan area applies to the water resource; and

                     (d)  the taking of the water would constitute a contravention of the law of a State if any fault element or state of mind requirement were to be satisfied in relation to the taking of the water (the potential State contravention); and

                     (e)  any of the following circumstances exists:

                              (i)  tier 3 water sharing arrangements are in place when the water is taken;

                             (ii)  the water is taken from a place that is downstream from where held environmental water is, or was, being delivered during a period of environmental watering, and the taking of some or all of the water occurred within the period of 60 days starting on the first day the held environmental water started to be delivered;

                            (iii)  the circumstance in paragraph 6.12(1)(a) of the Basin Plan exists in relation to the surface water SDL resource unit from which the water is taken, and at the time the water is taken the State is taking, or is proposing to take, steps of the kind referred to in subsection 6.12(5) of the Basin Plan in relation to that circumstance;

                            (iv)  the circumstance in paragraph 6.12C(1)(a) of the Basin Plan exists in relation to the groundwater SDL resource unit from which the water is taken, and at the time the water is taken the State is taking, or is proposing to take, steps of the kind referred to in subsection 6.12C(5) of the Basin Plan in relation to that circumstance;

                             (v)  the taking of the water significantly contributes to, or is likely to significantly contribute to, harm to the environment in a State other than the State where the water was taken;

                            (vi)  the taking of the water significantly contributes to, or is likely to significantly contribute to, serious harm to the environment;

                           (vii)  the water is taken from a wetland (including declared Ramsar wetlands) that is protected under a law of the Commonwealth or a law of a State.

Fault‑based offence

             (2)  A person commits an offence if the person contravenes subsection (1).

Note:          See section 170A in relation to the physical elements of the offence.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 5 years or 300 penalty units, or both.

             (3)  For the purposes of subsection (2):

                     (a)  recklessness applies to paragraphs (1)(b) and (e); and

                     (b)  strict liability applies to paragraphs (1)(c) and (d).

             (4)  In a prosecution for an offence against subsection (2), it is not necessary to prove the existence of any fault element or state of mind requirement in relation to the potential State contravention.

Alternative verdict

             (5)  In a trial for an offence against subsection (2), the trier of fact may find the defendant not guilty of that offence, but guilty of an offence against subsection 73A(2), if:

                     (a)  the trier of fact is not satisfied that the defendant is guilty of the offence against subsection (2) of this section; and

                     (b)  the trier of fact is satisfied that the defendant is guilty of the offence against subsection 73A(2); and

                     (c)  the defendant has been accorded procedural fairness in relation to that finding of guilt.

Civil penalty provision

             (6)  A person is liable to a civil penalty if the person contravenes subsection (1).

Note:          In proceedings against a person for a contravention of a civil penalty provision, it is generally not necessary to prove the person’s state of mind (see section 154C).

Civil penalty:

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units; or

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

Presumption about taking water by means of works

             (7)  For the purposes of subsection (6), if water was taken from a water resource by means of works that were on or beneath land (whether or not the works were attached to the land) at any time when the water was taken, then it must be presumed (in the absence of evidence to the contrary) that the water was taken by:

                     (a)  unless paragraph (b) applies, the person (the owner) who owned the land at any time when the water was taken; or

                     (b)  if a person other than the owner occupied the land at all times when the water was taken—that person.

Defences

             (8)  In a proceeding against a person (the first person) for an alleged contravention of subsection (1), it is not necessary for the person who instituted the proceeding to prove that no exception, exemption, excuse, qualification or justification provided by the law of the State applies in relation to the potential State contravention.

             (9)  However:

                     (a)  the first person may rely on an exception, exemption, excuse, qualification or justification referred to in subsection (8) if the exception, exemption, excuse, qualification or justification does not involve determining the first person’s state of mind; and

                     (b)  if the first person wishes to rely on such an exception, exemption, excuse, qualification or justification, the first person bears an evidential burden in relation to that matter.

Note:          For evidential burden, see subsection 4(1) of this Act.

           (10)  To avoid doubt, nothing in subsection (8) or (9) is intended to exclude the operation of Part 2.3 of the Criminal Code or section 154D of this Act (mistake of fact in relation to contraventions of civil penalty provisions) in relation to an alleged contravention of subsection (1).

Definitions

           (11)  In this section:

environment includes environmental assets and environmental outcomes.

groundwater SDL resource unit has the same meaning as in the Basin Plan.

harm includes direct harm, indirect harm, and the cumulative effect of any harm.

surface water SDL resource unit has the same meaning as in the Basin Plan.

tier 3 water sharing arrangements means the tier 3 water sharing arrangements provided for in the Agreement.

73C  Constitutional basis of sections 73A and 73B

                   Sections 73A and 73B rely on the Commonwealth’s legislative powers under paragraph 51(xxix) (external affairs) of the Constitution as it relates to giving effect to Australia’s obligations under relevant international agreements, in particular:

                     (a)  paragraph 1 of Article 3 and paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the Ramsar Convention; and

                     (b)  subparagraphs (a), (c) to (e) and (k) of Article 8 and subparagraph (a) of Article 10 of the Biodiversity Convention.

73D  Additional operation of sections 73A and 73B

             (1)  In addition to section 73C, sections 73A and 73B have effect as provided by this section.

Corporations

             (2)  Each of sections 73A and 73B also has the effect it would have if the relevant contravening conduct were expressly confined to:

                     (a)  conduct by a constitutional corporation; or

                     (b)  conduct by another person that affects the activities of a constitutional corporation.

Trade and commerce

             (3)  Each of sections 73A and 73B also has the effect it would have if the relevant contravening conduct were expressly confined to conduct that takes place in the course of trade and commerce:

                     (a)  with other countries; or

                     (b)  among the States; or

                     (c)  between a State and a Territory.

Territories

             (4)  Each of sections 73A and 73B also has the effect it would have if the relevant contravening conduct were expressly confined to conduct that takes place in a Territory.

Agencies of the Commonwealth

             (5)  Each of sections 73A and 73B also has the effect it would have if the relevant contravening conduct were expressly confined to conduct by an agency of the Commonwealth.

Definitions

             (6)  In this section:

conduct includes an act or omission.

relevant contravening conduct, in relation to section 73A or 73B, means conduct that constitutes, or would constitute, a contravention of a provision of that section.

73E  Restrictions on taking action under Part 8 or 10AA in relation to alleged contravention of section 73A or 73B

             (1)  The Inspector‑General or an authorised compliance officer must not take action under Part 8 or 10AA in relation to an alleged contravention of section 73A or 73B unless the Inspector‑General has given the appropriate agency of the State where the contravention is alleged to have occurred a written notice stating that:

                     (a)  the Inspector‑General intends to take action under Part 8 or 10AA in relation to the alleged contravention; and

                     (b)  the appropriate agency of the State may, within 28 days after receiving the notice, notify the Inspector‑General, in writing, that the appropriate agency of the State is investigating or taking other enforcement action in relation to the conduct constituting the alleged contravention.

             (2)  If:

                     (a)  under subsection (1), the Inspector‑General gives the appropriate agency of a State a written notice in relation to an alleged contravention; and

                     (b)  within 28 days after receiving the notice, the appropriate agency of the State notifies the Inspector‑General, in writing, under paragraph (1)(b);

the Inspector‑General or an authorised compliance officer must not, within 3 months after the Inspector‑General receives the notification, take action under Part 8 or 10AA in relation to the alleged contravention.

             (3)  Despite subsection (2), if, within 3 months after the Inspector‑General receives a notification from the appropriate agency of a State under paragraph (1)(b), the appropriate agency of the State:

                     (a)  withdraws the notification by written notice to the Inspector‑General; or

                     (b)  requests the Inspector‑General, in writing, to take action under Part 8 or 10AA in relation to the relevant alleged contravention;

the Inspector‑General or an authorised compliance officer may, at any time after receiving the withdrawal notice or request, take action under Part 8 or 10AA in relation to the relevant alleged contravention.

             (4)  A failure to comply with subsection (1) or (2) in relation to an alleged contravention does not affect the validity of any action taken by the Inspector‑General or an authorised compliance officer under this Act in relation to the alleged contravention.

             (5)  A notice or notification under this section is not a legislative instrument.

             (6)  To avoid doubt, subsection (2) does not prevent the Inspector‑General from exercising powers under this Act, other than under Part 8 or 10AA, during the 3 month period to which that subsection applies in relation to conduct constituting an alleged contravention of section 73A or 73B.

Note:          For example, the Inspector‑General may disclose information to a State or other body under Division 5 of Part 9A.

Subdivision BContraventions of the Basin Plan

73F  Failing to give reasons for restricting trade of water delivery right as required by the Basin Plan

             (1)  A person contravenes this subsection if:

                     (a)  the person is required to give a notification under subsection 12.30(1) of the Basin Plan; and

                     (b)  the person fails to give the notification in accordance with subsection 12.30(2) of the Basin Plan.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply if the person has a reasonable excuse.

Note:          The person bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in this subsection (see section 154E).

Civil penalty provision

             (3)  A person is liable to a civil penalty if the person contravenes subsection (1).

Note 1:       In proceedings against a person for a contravention of a civil penalty provision, it is generally not necessary to prove the person’s state of mind (see section 154C).

Note 2:       This section applies in relation to conduct described in section 73J.

Civil penalty:          60 penalty units.

73G  Failing to report price for trade of water access right as required by the Basin Plan

             (1)  A person contravenes this subsection if:

                     (a)  the person is required to give a notification under subsection 12.48(1) or (2) of the Basin Plan; and

                     (b)  the person fails to give the notification in accordance with subsection 12.48(3) of the Basin Plan.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply if the person has a reasonable excuse.

Note:          The person bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in this subsection (see section 154E).

Civil penalty provision

             (3)  A person is liable to a civil penalty if the person contravenes subsection (1).

Note 1:       In proceedings against a person for a contravention of a civil penalty provision, it is generally not necessary to prove the person’s state of mind (see section 154C).

Note 2:       This section applies in relation to conduct described in section 73J.

Civil penalty:          60 penalty units.

73H  Trading water access right before water announcement made or generally available in contravention of the Basin Plan

             (1)  A person contravenes this subsection if the person contravenes subsection 12.51(2) of the Basin Plan.

Civil penalty provision

             (2)  A person is liable to a civil penalty if the person contravenes subsection (1).

Note 1:       In proceedings against a person for a contravention of a civil penalty provision, it is generally not necessary to prove the person’s state of mind (see section 154C).

Note 2:       A person who wishes to rely on the exception in section 12.52 of the Basin Plan bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in that section (see section 154E of this Act).

Note 3:       This section applies in relation to conduct described in section 73J or 73K.

Civil penalty:

                     (a)  for an individual—1,000 penalty units; or

                     (b)  for a body corporate—10,000 penalty units.

73J  Application of sections 73F to 73H

             (1)  Sections 73F to 73H apply in relation to relevant contravening conduct of any of the following kinds:

                     (a)  relevant contravening conduct by a constitutional corporation;

                     (b)  relevant contravening conduct by another person that affects the activities of a constitutional corporation;

                     (c)  relevant contravening conduct that takes place in the course of trade and commerce:

                              (i)  among the States; or

                             (ii)  between a State and a Territory;

                     (d)  relevant contravening conduct that:

                              (i)  takes place in a Territory; or

                             (ii)  relates to tradeable water rights in relation to a water resource in a Territory;

                     (e)  relevant contravening conduct by an agency of the Commonwealth.

Definitions

             (2)  In this section:

conduct includes an act or omission.

relevant contravening conduct, in relation to section 73F, 73G or 73H, means conduct that constitutes, or would constitute, a contravention of a provision of that section.

73K  Additional application of section 73H

Postal, telegraphic, telephonic or other like services

             (1)  In addition to section 73J, section 73H also applies in relation to relevant contravening conduct that takes place using postal, telegraphic, telephonic or other like services (within the meaning of paragraph 51(v) of the Constitution).

Definitions

             (2)  In this section:

conduct includes an act or omission.

relevant contravening conduct means conduct that constitutes, or would constitute, a contravention of section 73H.

Division 3BAudits

73L  Audits

             (1)  The Inspector‑General may conduct, or appoint or establish a person or body (an auditor) to conduct, periodic audits to assess the extent of compliance with either or both of the following:

                     (a)  the Basin Plan;

                     (b)  water resource plans.

             (2)  In conducting an audit, the auditor must have regard to the following:

                     (a)  guidelines (if any) issued by the Inspector‑General relating to the conduct of an audit;

                     (b)  any applicable guidelines issued by the Inspector‑General under section 215V;

                     (c)  any applicable standards issued by the Inspector‑General under section 215VA.

             (3)  The auditor must:

                     (a)  prepare a report setting out the findings of the audit and any recommendations arising from the audit; and

                     (b)  before the report is finalised, provide any person or body to which the audit relates with an opportunity to comment on the proposed findings and recommendations.

             (4)  After a report prepared under subsection (3) is finalised, the Inspector‑General must publish a copy of the report on the Inspector‑General’s website or the Department’s website.

73M  Responses to audit reports including recommendations that an agency take certain action

             (1)  This section applies if:

                     (a)  the Inspector‑General publishes a report under subsection 73L(4); and

                     (b)  the report includes a recommendation that an agency of the Commonwealth, or an agency of a State or Territory, take certain action.

             (2)  The agency to which the recommendation is made must give a written response to the Inspector‑General, within 90 days after the report was published or within any longer period agreed to by the Inspector‑General, that sets out:

                     (a)  whether the agency accepts the recommendation (in whole or in part); and

                     (b)  if the agency accepts the recommendation (in whole or in part)—details of any action that the agency proposes to take to give effect to the recommendation (in whole or in part); and

                     (c)  if the agency does not accept the recommendation (in whole or in part)—the reasons for not accepting the recommendation (in whole or in part).

             (3)  The Inspector‑General may publish a copy of a response received under subsection (2) on the Inspector‑General’s website or the Department’s website.

Division 4Allocation of risks in relation to reductions in water availability

Subdivision ARisks arising from reductions in diversion limits

74  Simplified outline

             (1)  This section provides a simplified outline of this Subdivision.

             (2)  When the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the water resources of a water resource plan area (or for a particular part of those water resources) is reduced, the Basin Plan identifies the Commonwealth’s share (if any) of the reduction.

Note 1:       The Commonwealth’s share includes reductions attributable to changes in Commonwealth Government policy and may also include some part of reductions attributable to improvements in knowledge about the environmentally sustainable level of take for the water resources of a water resource plan area.

Note 2:       See section 75.

             (3)  The Commonwealth:

                     (a)  endeavours to manage the impact of the Commonwealth’s share of the reduction on the holders of water access entitlements; and

                     (b)  may take steps to ensure that the holders of water access entitlements do not suffer a reduction in their water allocations as a result of the Commonwealth’s share of the reduction.

Note:          See section 76.

             (4)  A water access entitlement holder is entitled to a payment if (despite the Commonwealth’s efforts) there is a reduction in, or a change in the reliability of, the holder’s water allocations that is reasonably attributable to the Commonwealth’s share of the reduction in the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit (and if certain other conditions are met).

Note:          See section 77.

74A  States applying the risk assignment framework

             (1)  The Minister must, in writing, determine that a Basin State is a State to which this section applies if the Minister is satisfied that a State water management law of the State:

                     (a)  has applied the risk assignment framework provided for in clauses 48 to 50 of the National Water Initiative, read in conjunction with clause 10.1.3 of the Agreement on Murray‑Darling Basin Reform of 3 July 2008; and

                     (b)  has applied that framework by, and at all times since:

                              (i)  30 June 2009; or

                             (ii)  a later day specified in the regulations.

Note:          Clauses 48 to 50 of the National Water Initiative and clause 10.1.3 of the Agreement on Murray‑Darling Basin Reform of 3 July 2008 are set out in Schedule 3A.

             (2)  The day specified in regulations made for the purposes of subparagraph (1)(b)(ii) must not be later than the day on which the Basin Plan first takes effect.

          (2A)  The Minister is taken, on the commencement of this section, to have made a determination under subsection (1) that New South Wales is a State to which this section applies.

             (3)  The Minister must, in writing, revoke a determination made under subsection (1) if satisfied that there is no longer a State water management law of the State that gives effect to that framework.

             (5)  A determination made under subsection (1), or a revocation under subsection (3), is not a legislative instrument.

75  Basin Plan to specify Commonwealth share of reduction in long‑term average sustainable diversion limit

             (1)  If the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the water resources of a water resource plan area (or for a particular part of those water resources) is reduced, the Basin Plan must specify:

                     (a)  the amount of the reduction; and

                     (b)  the amount of so much (if any) of the reduction as is attributable to changes in Commonwealth Government policy (the Commonwealth Government policy component of the reduction); and

                     (c)  the amount of so much (if any) of the reduction as is attributable to improvements in knowledge about the environmentally sustainable level of take for the water resources of the water resource plan area (the new knowledge component of the reduction); and

                     (d)  the amount of so much (if any) of the reduction as is the Commonwealth’s share of the reduction (worked out under subsection (2)).

Each of the amounts referred to in paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) is to be expressed as a quantity of water per year.

          (1A)  In working out the amount of the Commonwealth Government policy component or the new knowledge component, any reduction that is a result of matters referred to in clause 48 of the National Water Initiative is to be disregarded.

Note:          Clause 48 of the National Water Initiative is set out in Part 1 of Schedule 3A.

             (2)  The Commonwealth’s share of the reduction is to be worked out as follows:

                     (a)  the Commonwealth’s share of the reduction includes the Commonwealth Government policy component of the reduction (if any); and

                     (b)  if the Basin State in which the water resource plan area is located is not a State to which section 74A applies, and the reduction is one that takes effect on or after 1 January 2015—the Commonwealth’s share of the reduction also includes so much of the new knowledge component (if any) as is worked out under subsection (3); and

                     (c)  if the Basin State in which the water resource plan area is located is a State to which section 74A applies—the Commonwealth’s share of the reduction also includes so much of the new knowledge component (if any) as is worked out under subsection (3A).

             (3)  The amount to be included in the Commonwealth’s share of the reduction under paragraph (2)(b) is to be worked out on the basis that, for reductions in the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the water resources, or that part of the water resources, of the water resource plan area in any 10 year period, the Commonwealth’s share of the reductions:

                     (a)  does not include so much of new knowledge components of those reductions as does not exceed (in aggregate) 3% of the relevant diversion limit; and

                     (b)  includes two‑thirds of so much of the new knowledge components of those reductions as:

                              (i)  exceeds (in aggregate) 3% of the relevant diversion limit; and

                              (i)  does not exceed (in aggregate) 6% of the relevant diversion limit; and

                     (c)  includes 50% of so much of the new knowledge components of those reductions as exceed (in aggregate) 6% of the relevant diversion limit.

          (3A)  The amount to be included in the Commonwealth’s share of the reduction under paragraph (2)(c) is to be worked out on the basis that, for reductions in the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the water resources, or that part of the water resources, of the water resource plan area in any 10 year period, the Commonwealth’s share of the reductions:

                     (a)  does not include so much of new knowledge components of those reductions as does not exceed (in aggregate) 3% of the relevant diversion limit; and

                     (b)  includes all of so much of the new knowledge components of those reductions as exceeds (in aggregate) 3% of the relevant diversion limit.

             (4)  For the purposes of applying subsection (3) or (3A) for a reduction in the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the water resources, or part of the water resources, of a water resource plan area, the relevant diversion limit is the earliest long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for those water resources, or that part of those water resources, that applied:

                     (a)  during the 10 years immediately preceding the reduction; and

                     (b)  on or after:

                              (i)  if the Basin State in which the water resource plan area is located is a State to which section 74A applies, and a transitional water resource plan or an interim water resource plan has effect for the area—the day on which that plan ceases to have effect; or

                             (ii)  in any other case—1 January 2015.

Note:          The surface water of the Googong Dam Area is to be treated as if it were located in the Australian Capital Territory (see section 63A).

76  Commonwealth to manage Commonwealth share of reduction in diversion limit

                   If the Basin Plan specifies, under subsection 75(1), the Commonwealth’s share of a reduction in the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the water resources of a water resource plan area, or for the particular part of those water resources, the Commonwealth:

                     (a)  must endeavour to manage the impact of the Commonwealth’s share of the reduction in the limit on the holders of water access entitlements; and

                     (b)  may take steps to ensure that the holders of water access entitlements do not suffer a reduction in their water allocations, or a change in the reliability of their water allocations, as a result of the Commonwealth’s share of the reduction in the limit.

Note 1:       This subsection implements in part the policy in clauses 49 and 50 of the National Water Initiative.

Note 2:       If a reduction in, or a change in the reliability of, a water allocation results despite the steps taken by the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth may be liable for an amount under section 77.

77  Payments to water access entitlement holders

Qualification for payment under this section

             (1)  A person (the entitlement holder) qualifies for a payment under this section if:

                     (a)  the entitlement holder holds a water access entitlement in relation to a water resource plan area; and

                     (b)  one of the following subparagraphs is satisfied:

                              (i)  the water access entitlement was granted, issued or authorised before 25 January 2007;

                             (ii)  the water access entitlement is granted, issued or authorised in accordance with a transitional water resource plan;

                            (iii)  the water access entitlement is granted, issued or authorised on or after 25 January 2007, and before the Basin Plan first takes effect, and the Minister determines in writing that the entitlement relates to a water resource that was not overallocated at the time of, or because of, the grant, issue or authorisation;

                            (iv)  the water access entitlement is granted, issued or authorised after the Basin Plan first takes effect and is granted, issued or authorised in accordance with the Basin Plan and the water resource plan for the water resources of the water resource plan area, or for the particular part of the water resources of the area; and

                     (c)  there is:

                              (i)  a reduction in the water allocations to be made in relation to the water access entitlement; or

                             (ii)  a change in the reliability of those water allocations; and

                     (d)  the reduction in the water allocations, or the change in the reliability of the water allocations, occurs because of a reduction (the diversion limit reduction) in the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the water resources of the water resource plan area, or for the particular part of those water resources; and

                     (e)  the whole, or a part, of the reduction in the water allocations, or the change in the reliability of the water allocations, is reasonably attributable to the Commonwealth’s share of the reduction.

A determination under subparagraph (b)(iii) is not a legislative instrument.

             (2)  In applying paragraph (1)(e), regard is to be had to:

                     (a)  any steps taken by the Commonwealth to ensure that holders of water access entitlements do not suffer a reduction in their water allocations, or a change in the reliability of their water allocations, as a result of the diversion limit reduction; and

                     (b)  the effect of those steps on the water allocations, or the reliability of the water allocations, made to the holders of water access entitlements; and

                     (c)  the effect of the other provisions of the Basin Plan.

Minister to decide claim

             (3)  If the entitlement holder makes a claim for a payment under this section in relation to the diversion limit reduction, the Minister must:

                     (a)  if the Minister is satisfied that the entitlement holder qualifies for a payment under this section in relation to the reduction:

                              (i)  determine that a payment under this section is to be made to the entitlement holder in relation to the reduction; and

                             (ii)  determine the amount of the payment under this section to be made to the entitlement holder; and

                     (b)  if the Minister is not satisfied that the entitlement holder qualifies for a payment under this section in relation to the reduction—determine that a payment under this section is not to be made to the entitlement holder in relation to the reduction.

Amount of payment under this section

             (4)  Subject to subsection (6), the amount of the payment under this section is worked out as follows:

                     (a)  first work out the amount of the reduction in the market value of the entitlement holder’s water access entitlement that occurred because of the reduction in, or the change in the reliability of, the entitlement holder’s water allocations;

                     (b)  then work out how much of that reduction in market value is reasonably attributable to the Commonwealth’s share of the diversion limit reduction.

             (5)  In applying paragraph (4)(b), regard is to be had to:

                     (a)  any steps taken by the Commonwealth to ensure that holders of water access entitlements do not suffer a reduction in, or a change in the reliability of, their water allocations as a result of the diversion limit reduction; and

                     (b)  the effect of those steps on the water allocations made to the holders of water access entitlements; and

                     (c)  the effect of the other provisions of the Basin Plan.

             (6)  The amount of the payment under this section must not exceed the amount worked out as follows:

                     (a)  first work out the percentage of the diversion limit reduction represented by the Commonwealth share of the reduction;

                     (b)  then apply that percentage to the amount worked out under paragraph (4)(a).

AAT review

             (7)  An application may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for the review of:

                     (a)  a determination of the Minister under paragraph (3)(b); or

                     (b)  a determination of the Minister under subparagraph (3)(a)(ii).

Substitute entitlements

             (8)  If:

                     (a)  a water access entitlement (the substitute entitlement) is granted, issued or authorised; and

                     (b)  the substitute entitlement is granted, issued or authorised in substitution for an equivalent water access right (the earlier right) that was previously granted, issued or authorised at a particular time;

the substitute entitlement is taken, for the purposes of applying paragraph (1)(b), to have been granted, issued or authorised at the time when the earlier right was granted, issued or authorised.

Note:          This means, for example, that if the earlier right was granted, issued or authorised before 25 January 2007, the substitute entitlement is also taken to have been granted, issued or authorised before 25 January 2007.

             (9)  For the purposes of subsection (8), the substitute entitlement is not equivalent to the earlier right if the amount of water that can be taken under the substitute entitlement is more than the amount of water that could be taken under the earlier right.

78  Applying Subdivision when transitional or interim water resource plan ends

             (1)  This section applies if a transitional water resource plan, or an interim water resource plan, for a water resource plan area is in effect when the Basin Plan first takes effect.

             (2)  The Basin Plan must specify the long‑term average limit on the quantity of water that can be taken from the water resources of the water resource plan area that the Authority is satisfied will be applicable immediately before the transitional water resource plan, or interim water resource plan, ceases to have effect.

             (3)  For the purposes of applying this Subdivision:

                     (a)  the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the water resources of the water resource plan area is taken to be reduced when the transitional water resource plan, or interim water resource plan, ceases to have effect if:

                              (i)  the long‑term average limit specified under subsection (2); exceeds

                             (ii)  the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the water resources of the water resource plan area that is specified in the Basin Plan; and

                     (b)  the amount of the reduction is the amount of the excess; and

                     (c)  the Basin Plan must specify the amounts referred to in paragraphs 75(1)(a), (b), (c) and (d) in relation to the reduction.

79  Regulations

             (1)  The regulations may provide for matters that are necessary or convenient to be provided for in relation to claims for payments under section 77.

             (2)  Without limiting subsection (1), the regulations made for the purposes of that subsection may provide for:

                     (a)  how a person is to make a claim under section 77; and

                     (b)  the time within which the person may make the claim; and

                     (c)  the information that the person making a claim must provide in support of the claim; and

                     (d)  the procedure to be followed in dealing with the claim; and

                     (e)  the method to be used to calculate the amount of a reduction in a water allocation to which the claim relates; and

                      (f)  the method to be used to calculate the change in market value of a water access entitlement in relation to which the claim is made.

             (3)  Without limiting subsection (1), the regulations made for the purposes of that subsection may require a Basin State, an agency of a Basin State or another person, to give the Commonwealth, the Authority or another agency of the Commonwealth information for the purposes of dealing with a claim made under section 77.

Subdivision BRisks arising from other changes to Basin Plan

80  Simplified outline

             (1)  This section provides a simplified outline of this Subdivision.

             (2)  When a change to the Basin Plan would result in a change in the reliability of the water allocations in relation to the water resources of a water resource plan area, the Basin Plan identifies the change and may also specify the Commonwealth’s share (if any) of that change in reliability.

Note 1:       The Commonwealth’s share is worked out in accordance with the provisions of the National Water Initiative. The Initiative provides that the Commonwealth’s share includes changes attributable to changes in Commonwealth Government policy and, for changes that occur on or after 1 January 2015, may also include some part of changes attributable to improvements in knowledge about the environmentally sustainable level of take for the water resources of a water resource plan area.

Note 2:       See section 81.

             (3)  The Commonwealth:

                     (a)  endeavours to manage the impact of the Commonwealth’s share of the potential change in reliability on the holders of water access entitlements; and

                     (b)  may take steps to ensure that the holders of water access entitlements do not suffer a change in the reliability of their water allocations as a result of the Commonwealth’s share of the potential change.

Note:          See section 82.

             (4)  If, despite the Commonwealth’s efforts, there is a change in the reliability of the water allocations of a holder of a water access entitlement and the change is reasonably attributable to the Commonwealth’s share of the change in reliability, the holder may be entitled to a payment under section 83.

81  Basin Plan to specify certain matters if Plan results in change in reliability of water allocations

             (1)  This section applies if:

                     (a)  a change to the Basin Plan would, if action were not to be taken under this Subdivision, result in a change in the reliability of water allocations in relation to the water resources of a water resource plan area; and

                     (b)  this would occur otherwise than because of a reduction in the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for those water resources (or for a part of those water resources).

             (2)  The Basin Plan must:

                     (a)  specify that this Subdivision applies to that change to the Basin Plan; and

                     (b)  specify the nature of the change in the reliability of those water allocations.

             (3)  The Basin Plan may specify the following:

                     (a)  the extent (if any) to which the change in reliability is attributable to changes in Commonwealth Government policy (the Commonwealth Government policy component of the change in reliability);

                     (b)  the extent (if any) to which the change in reliability is attributable to improvements in knowledge about the environmentally sustainable level of take for the water resources of the water resource plan area (the new knowledge component of the change in reliability);

                     (c)  the extent (if any) of the Commonwealth’s share of the change in reliability.

          (3A)  In working out the amount of the Commonwealth Government policy component or the new knowledge component, any reduction that is a result of matters referred to in clause 48 of the National Water Initiative is to be disregarded.

Note:          Clause 48 of the National Water Initiative is set out in Part 1 of Schedule 3A.

             (4)  The Commonwealth’s share of the change in reliability is to be worked out for the purposes of paragraph (3)(c) in accordance with:

                     (a)  the provisions of the National Water Initiative; and

                     (b)  any regulations made for the purposes of this paragraph.

Regulations made for the purposes of paragraph (b) must not be inconsistent with the National Water Initiative.

82  Commonwealth to manage Commonwealth share of change in reliability

                   If the Basin Plan specifies, under paragraph 81(3)(c), the Commonwealth’s share of a change in the reliability of the water allocations in relation to the water resources of a water resource plan area, the Commonwealth:

                     (a)  must endeavour to manage the impact of the Commonwealth’s share of the change in reliability on the holders of water access entitlements; and

                     (b)  may take steps to ensure that the holders of water access entitlements do not suffer a change in the reliability of their water allocations as a result of the Commonwealth’s share of the change in reliability.

Note 1:       This subsection implements in part the policy in clauses 49 and 50 of the National Water Initiative.

Note 2:       If a change in the reliability of water allocations results despite the steps taken by the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth may be liable for an amount under section 83.

83  Payments to water access entitlement holders

Qualification for payment under this section

             (1)  A person (the entitlement holder) qualifies for a payment under this section if:

                     (a)  the entitlement holder holds a water access entitlement in relation to the water resources of a water resource plan area; and

                     (b)  one of the following subparagraphs is satisfied:

                              (i)  the water access entitlement was granted, issued or authorised before 25 January 2007;

                             (ii)  the water access entitlement is granted, issued or authorised in accordance with a transitional water resource plan;

                            (iii)  the water access entitlement is granted, issued or authorised on or after 25 January 2007, and before the Basin Plan first takes effect, and the Minister determines in writing that the entitlement relates to a water resource that was not overallocated at the time of, or because of, the grant, issue or authorisation;

                            (iv)  the water access entitlement is granted, issued or authorised after the Basin Plan first takes effect and is granted, issued or authorised in accordance with the Basin Plan and the water resource plan for the water resources of the water resource plan area, or for the particular part of the water resources of the area; and

                     (c)  there is a change in the reliability of the water allocations to be made in relation to the water access entitlement; and

                     (d)  the change in reliability of the entitlement holder’s water allocations occurs because of a change (the relevant Plan change) to the Basin Plan; and

                     (e)  the Basin Plan specifies that this Subdivision applies to the relevant Plan change; and

                      (f)  the whole, or a part, of the change in the reliability of the entitlement holder’s water allocations is reasonably attributable to the Commonwealth’s share of the relevant Plan change.

A determination under subparagraph (b)(iii) is not a legislative instrument.

             (2)  For the purposes of applying this section to the change in the reliability of the entitlement holder’s water allocations, the Commonwealth’s share of the relevant Plan change is:

                     (a)  the Commonwealth’s share of the change in reliability that is specified in the Basin Plan under paragraph 81(3)(c) if that share is specified in the Basin Plan under that paragraph; or

                     (b)  the Commonwealth’s share of the change in reliability of the entitlement holder’s water allocations that results from the relevant Plan change (as determined, in writing, by the Authority) if paragraph (a) does not apply.

A determination by the Authority under paragraph (b) is not a legislative instrument.

Note:          The Authority is not subject to the Minister’s direction in relation to a determination under paragraph (b) (see paragraph 175(2)(a)).

             (3)  The Commonwealth’s share of the change in reliability of the entitlement holder’s water allocations is to be worked out for the purposes of paragraph (2)(b) in accordance with:

                     (a)  the provisions of the National Water Initiative; and

                     (b)  any regulations made for the purposes of this paragraph.

Regulations made for the purposes of paragraph (b) must not be inconsistent with the National Water Initiative.

             (4)  In applying paragraph (1)(f), regard is to be had to:

                     (a)  any steps taken by the Commonwealth to ensure that holders of water access entitlements do not suffer a change in the reliability of their water allocations as a result of the relevant Plan change; and

                     (b)  the effect of those steps on the reliability of the water allocations made to the holders of water access entitlements; and

                     (c)  the effect of the other provisions of the Basin Plan.

Minister to decide claim

             (5)  If the entitlement holder makes a claim for a payment under this section in relation to the relevant Plan change, the Minister must:

                     (a)  if the Minister is satisfied that the entitlement holder qualifies for a payment under this section in relation to the relevant Plan change:

                              (i)  determine that a payment under this section is to be made to the entitlement holder in relation to the relevant Plan change; and

                             (ii)  determine the amount of the payment under this section to be made to the entitlement holder; and

                     (b)  if the Minister is not satisfied that the entitlement holder qualifies for a payment under this section in relation to the relevant Plan change—determine that a payment under this section is not to be made to the entitlement holder in relation to the relevant Plan change.

Amount of payment under this section

             (6)  The amount of the payment under this section is worked out as follows:

                     (a)  first work out the amount of the reduction in the market value of the entitlement holder’s water access entitlement that occurred because of the change in the reliability of the entitlement holder’s water allocations;

                     (b)  then work out how much of that reduction in market value is reasonably attributable to the Commonwealth’s share of the relevant Plan change.

             (7)  In applying paragraph (6)(b), regard is to be had to:

                     (a)  any steps taken by the Commonwealth to ensure that holders of water access entitlements do not suffer a change in the reliability of their water allocations as a result of the relevant Plan change; and

                     (b)  the effect of those steps on the reliability of the water allocations made to the holders of water access entitlements; and

                     (c)  the effect of the other provisions of the Basin Plan.

AAT review

             (8)  An application may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for the review of:

                     (a)  a determination of the Minister under paragraph (5)(b); or

                     (b)  a determination of the Minister under subparagraph (5)(a)(ii).

Substitute entitlements

             (9)  If:

                     (a)  a water access entitlement (the substitute entitlement) is granted, issued or authorised; and

                     (b)  the substitute entitlement is granted, issued or authorised in substitution for an equivalent water access right (the earlier right) that was previously granted, issued or authorised at a particular time;

the substitute entitlement is taken, for the purposes of applying paragraph (1)(b), to have been granted, issued or authorised at the time when the earlier right was granted, issued or authorised.

Note:          This means, for example, that if the earlier right was granted, issued or authorised before 25 January 2007, the substitute entitlement is also taken to have been granted, issued or authorised before 25 January 2007.

           (10)  For the purposes of subsection (9), the substitute entitlement is not equivalent to the earlier right if the amount of water that can be taken under the substitute entitlement is more than the amount of water that could be taken under the earlier right.

84  Applying Subdivision when transitional or interim water resource plan ends

             (1)  This section applies if a transitional water resource plan, or an interim water resource plan, for a water resource plan area is in effect when the Basin Plan first takes effect.

             (2)  This Subdivision applies as if the provisions of the transitional water resource plan, or the interim water resource plan, had been provisions of the Basin Plan.

85  Regulations

             (1)  The regulations may provide for matters that are necessary or convenient to be provided for in relation to claims for payments under section 83.

             (2)  Without limiting subsection (1), the regulations made for the purposes of that subsection may provide for:

                     (a)  how a person is to make a claim under section 83; and

                     (b)  the time within which the person may make the claim; and

                     (c)  the information that the person making a claim must provide in support of the claim; and

                     (d)  the procedure to be followed in dealing with the claim; and

                     (e)  the method to be used to calculate the change in market value of a water access entitlement in relation to which the claim is made; and

                      (f)  the procedure for applying for, and making, determinations under paragraph 83(2)(b).

             (3)  Without limiting subsection (1), the regulations made for the purposes of that subsection may require a Basin State, an agency of a Basin State or another person, to give the Commonwealth, the Authority or another agency of the Commonwealth information for the purposes of dealing with a claim made under section 83.

             (4)  The regulations may make provision in relation to the application of the provisions of the National Water Initiative for the purposes of this Subdivision.

85A  Operation of Subdivision

             (1)  This Subdivision imposes obligations on the Commonwealth in relation to changes in the reliability of water allocations only to the extent to which the National Water Initiative provides that the Commonwealth is responsible for those changes.

             (2)  To avoid doubt, this Subdivision does not impose obligations on the Commonwealth merely because of:

                     (a)  actions taken by, or on behalf of, the Commonwealth (including purchasing water access rights); or

                     (b)  actions taken under the Basin Plan in the exercise of the rights conferred by water access rights held by, or on behalf, of the Commonwealth.

Division 51,500 gigalitre limit on water purchases

85B  Simplified outline of this Division

There is a 1,500 gigalitre limit on water purchased under water purchase contracts.

85C  1,500 gigalitre limit on water purchases

             (1)  The Commonwealth must not enter into a water purchase contract at a particular time if doing so would result in the sum of:

                     (a)  the long‑term annual average quantity of water that can be accessed under the water access entitlement purchased under the contract; and

                     (b)  the total of the long‑term annual average quantities of water that can be accessed under water access entitlements purchased under water purchase contracts entered into before that time;

exceeding 1,500 gigalitres.

Note:          For water purchase contract, see subsections (3) and (4).

             (2)  Subsection (1) ceases to have effect on the first occasion after the commencement of this section when a report is given to the Minister under subsection 50(5).

Note:          Subsection 50(5) deals with a report of the results of a review of the Basin Plan.

Water purchase contract

             (3)  For the purposes of this section, a contract is a water purchase contract if:

                     (a)  the contract is or was entered into by, or on behalf of, the Commonwealth for the purchase by the Commonwealth of a water access entitlement; and

                     (b)  the water access entitlement relates to Basin water resources that are surface water;

and either:

                     (c)  the contract was entered into during the period:

                              (i)  beginning at the start of 2 February 2008; and

                             (ii)  ending at the end of 23 November 2012; or

                     (d)  the contract is or was entered into on or after 24 November 2012 for purposes directed towards achieving the Commonwealth’s share of a reduction in the long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for:

                              (i)  the water resources of a water resource plan area; or

                             (ii)  a particular part of those water resources.

Exceptions

             (4)  However, a contract is not a water purchase contract for the purposes of this section if:

                     (a)  both of the following conditions are satisfied:

                              (i)  the contract is or was entered into as the result of, or in connection with, an agreement under which the Commonwealth provided financial assistance for the rationalisation or reconfiguration of an irrigation network;

                             (ii)  the contract was entered into after the commencement of this section; or

                     (b)  both of the following conditions are satisfied:

                              (i)  the contract is or was for the purchase of a water access entitlement from a Basin State;

                             (ii)  the contract was entered into after the commencement of this section; or

                     (c)  the contract was provided for in an agreement:

                              (i)  under which the Commonwealth provided financial assistance for activities relating to water infrastructure; and

                             (ii)  that is not mentioned in subparagraph (a)(i); or

                     (d)  the contract is or was entered into in accordance with Part 6; or

                     (e)  the cost of the water access entitlement purchased under the contract is or was debited from the Water for the Environment Special Account.

85D  Validity of contracts

                   A contravention of section 85C does not affect the validity of a contract.

Part 2AAWater for the Environment Special Account

  

86AA  Object of this Part

             (1)  The object of this Part is to enhance the environmental outcomes that can be achieved by the Basin Plan, as in force from time to time, by:

                     (a)  protecting and restoring the environmental assets of the Murray‑Darling Basin; and

                     (b)  protecting biodiversity dependent on the Basin water resources;

so as to give effect to relevant international agreements.

             (2)  Without limiting subsection (1), environmental outcomes can be enhanced in the following ways:

                     (a)  further reducing salinity levels in the Coorong and Lower Lakes so that improved water quality contributes to the health of insects, fish and plants that form important parts of the food chain, with the aim of achieving the following outcomes:

                              (i)  the maximum average daily salinity in the Coorong South Lagoon is less than 100 grams per litre;

                             (ii)  the maximum average daily salinity in the Coorong North Lagoon is less than 50 grams per litre;

                            (iii)  the average daily salinity in Lake Alexandrina is less than 1000 microsiemens per centimetre for 95% of years and 1500 microsiemens per centimetre all of the time;

                     (b)  keeping water levels in the Lower Lakes above:

                              (i)  0.4 metres Australian Height Datum for 95% of the time; and

                             (ii)  0.0 metres Australian Height Datum at all times;

                            to provide additional flows to the Coorong, and to prevent acidification, acid drainage and riverbank collapse below Lock 1;

                     (c)  ensuring the mouth of the River Murray is open without the need for dredging in at least 95% of years, with flows every year through the Murray Mouth Barrages;

                     (d)  discharging 2 million tonnes of salt per year from the Murray‑Darling Basin as a long‑term average;

                     (e)  further increasing flows to the Coorong through the Murray Mouth Barrages, and supporting fish migration;

                      (f)  in conjunction with removing or easing constraints referred to in subparagraph (h)(ii), providing opportunities for environmental watering of an additional 35,000 hectares of floodplains in the River Murray System, to do the following:

                              (i)  improve the health of forests and the habitats of fish and birds;

                             (ii)  improve connections between the floodplains and rivers in the River Murray System;

                            (iii)  replenish groundwater;

                     (g)  increasing the flows of rivers and streams, and providing water to low and middle level floodplains and habitats that are adjacent to rivers and streams, in the River Murray System:

                              (i)  to enhance environmental outcomes within those floodplains, habitats, rivers and streams; and

                             (ii)  to improve connections between those floodplains and habitats, and those rivers and streams;

                     (h)  in any other way that is consistent with:

                              (i)  the Authority’s modelling of the effect of increasing the volume of the Basin water resources that is available for environmental use by 3200 gigalitres; and

                             (ii)  easing or removing constraints on the capacity to deliver environmental water to the environmental assets of the Murray‑Darling Basin.

             (3)  The object of this Part is to be achieved by:

                     (a)  easing or removing constraints on the capacity to deliver environmental water to the environmental assets of the Murray‑Darling Basin; and

                     (b)  increasing the volume of the Basin water resources that is available for environmental use by 450 gigalitres.

86AB  Water for the Environment Special Account

             (1)  The Water for the Environment Special Account is established by this section.

             (2)  The Account is a special account for the purposes of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

86AC  Credits to the Water for the Environment Special Account

             (1)  There must be credited to the Water for the Environment Special Account the following amounts:

                     (a)  all amounts appropriated by the Parliament for the purposes of that Account;

                     (b)  amounts paid by a Basin State, under an agreement between the Commonwealth and the State, for crediting to that Account;

                     (c)  amounts received for crediting to that Account by the Commonwealth under any other agreement;

                     (d)  amounts equal to money received by the Commonwealth in relation to property paid for with amounts debited from that Account;

                     (e)  amounts equal to amounts of any gifts given or bequests made for the purposes of that Account.

Note:          An Appropriation Act provides for amounts to be credited to a special account if any of the purposes of the special account is a purpose that is covered by an item in the Appropriation Act.

             (2)  Amounts equal to money received by the Commonwealth from the disposal of or other dealings with water access rights paid for with amounts debited from the Water for the Environment Special Account are not to be credited to that Account.

Note:          Such amounts are instead credited to the Environmental Water Holdings Special Account (see paragraphs 105(2)(a) and 112(1)(b)).

86AD  Purposes of the Water for the Environment Special Account

             (1)  This section sets out the purposes of the Water for the Environment Special Account.

             (2)  Amounts standing to the credit of the Water for the Environment Special Account may be debited for any of the following purposes:

                     (a)  making payments in relation to projects whose aim is to further the object of this Part by doing one or more of the following:

                              (i)  improving the water efficiency of the infrastructure that uses Basin water resources for irrigation;

                             (ii)  improving the water efficiency of any other infrastructure that delivers, stores or drains Basin water resources for the primary purpose of providing water for irrigation;

                            (iii)  improving or modifying any infrastructure (including bridges and roads) that constrains the delivery of environmental water to the environmental assets of the Murray‑Darling Basin in order to ease or remove those constraints;

                            (iv)  better utilising existing dams and storages to deliver environmental water to the environmental assets of the Murray‑Darling Basin;

                             (v)  entering agreements to acquire an interest in, or in relation to, land (including easements) to facilitate environmental watering of the environmental assets of the Murray‑Darling Basin;

                            (vi)  improving the rules, policies, practices and procedures in relation to the use and management of the Basin water resources;

                     (b)  purchasing water access rights in relation to Basin water resources for the purpose of furthering the object of this Part;

                     (c)  making any other payments:

                              (i)  in relation to projects whose aim is to further the object of this Part; or

                             (ii)  to address any detrimental social or economic impact on the wellbeing of any community in the Murray‑Darling Basin that is associated with a project or purchase referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) or subparagraph (c)(i) so as to offset any such impact;

                     (d)  meeting the expenses of administering the Account.

Note 1:       As a result of subsection (4) of this section, water access rights may be purchased only if the purchase is related to an adjustment of a long‑term average sustainable diversion limit under section 23A. That section requires the Basin Plan to prescribe criteria in relation to such adjustments. The effect of the criteria prescribed by the Basin Plan is that water access rights may be purchased only in conjunction with improving irrigation water use efficiency on farms or an alternative arrangement proposed by a Basin State.

Note 2:       Under this Part, the Commonwealth will not conduct open tender rounds that are available to all water access entitlement holders in a water resource plan area to purchase water access rights.

             (3)  For the purposes of this section, the expenses of administering the Water for the Environment Special Account do not include the cost of salaries of the Department.

             (4)  An amount may be debited from the Water for the Environment Special Account for the purpose of making a payment in relation to a project or purchase referred to in paragraph (2)(a) or (b) or subparagraph (2)(c)(i) only if the project or purchase is related to an adjustment of a long‑term average sustainable diversion limit for the water resources of a particular water resource plan area (or a particular part of those water resources) under section 23A (whether or not the adjustment has been proposed, and whether or not the adjustment has been adopted as an amendment) because the project or purchase achieves the object of this Part in accordance with subsection 86AA(3).

Note:          A proposed adjustment may be adopted by the Minister as an amendment of the Basin Plan under subsection 23B(6).

86AE  Commonwealth environmental water holdings

             (1)  To avoid doubt, water access rights acquired by the Commonwealth with amounts debited from the Water for the Environment Special Account form part of the Commonwealth environmental water holdings (see section 108).

Note:          The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder must (subject to subsection (2) of this section) dispose or otherwise deal with Commonwealth environmental water holdings in accordance with sections 105 and 106.

             (2)  Paragraphs 105(3)(b) and (4)(b), subparagraphs 106(3)(c)(ii) and (iii), and subsection 105(5), do not apply in relation to any water access right that forms part of the Commonwealth environmental water holdings if the water access right was acquired by the Commonwealth with amounts debited from the Water for the Environment Special Account.

86AF  Arrangements to make payments

             (1)  The Minister may, on behalf of the Commonwealth, enter into arrangements and make payments for the purposes of subsection 86AD(2).

             (2)  If a Basin State is granted financial assistance with an amount debited from the Water for the Environment Special Account, the terms and conditions on which that financial assistance is granted are to be set out in a written agreement between the Commonwealth and the Basin State.

86AG  Amounts to be credited to the Water for the Environment Special Account

                   At the beginning of 1 July in each financial year specified in the following table, the amount specified in the table for that year is credited by force of this section to the Water for the Environment Special Account.

 

Yearly payments

Item

Financial year

Amount for financial year

1

2014‑2015

$15,000,000.00

2

2015‑2016

$40,000,000.00

3

2016‑2017

$110,000,000.00

4

2017‑2018

$430,000,000.00

5

2018‑2019

$320,000,000.00

6

2019‑2020

$350,000,000.00

7

2020‑2021

$315,000,000.00

8

2021‑2022

$105,000,000.00

9

2022‑2023

$60,000,000.00

10

2023‑2024

$30,000,000.00

86AI  Annual report

Annual report to be given to Minister

             (1)  As soon as practicable after 30 June in each financial year (the report year), the Secretary of the Department must prepare and give to the Minister, for presentation to the Parliament, a report on the Water for the Environment Special Account during that year.

Contents of annual report

             (2)  The Secretary of the Department must include in each annual report particulars of the following:

                     (a)  the objectives and priorities for amounts debited during the report year from the Water for the Environment Special Account;

                     (b)  achievements against those objectives and priorities, including the following:

                              (i)  the increase during the report year in the volume of the Commonwealth environmental water holdings as a result of amounts debited from the Water for the Environment Special Account (whether the amounts were debited in that or any other year);

                             (ii)  a description of the kinds of water access rights acquired by the Commonwealth during the report year as a result of amounts debited from the Water for the Environment Special Account (whether the amounts were debited in that or any other year);

                            (iii)  the water resource plan areas in which water access rights referred to in subparagraph (ii) have been acquired;

                     (c)  for each project in relation to which an amount was debited from the Water for the Environment Special Account during the report year for the purposes of paragraph 86AD(2)(a) or subparagraph 86AD(2)(c)(i):

                              (i)  a description of the project; and

                             (ii)  the aim of the project; and

                            (iii)  the water resource plan area in which the project is to take place or is taking place;

                     (d)  if an amount was debited during a previous financial year for the purposes of paragraph 86AD(2)(a) or subparagraph 86AD(2)(c)(i) in relation to a project—any significant developments during the report year in relation to the project;

                     (e)  in any case—any amount debited from the Water for the Environment Special Account during the report year, and the purpose for which the amount was debited.

Annual report to be tabled in Parliament

             (3)  The Minister must cause a copy of each annual report to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the day the Minister receives the report.

Annual report to be given to Basin States

             (4)  The Minister must cause a copy of each annual report to be given to the relevant State Minister for each of the Basin States on or before the day the report is first tabled in a House of the Parliament.

86AJ  Reviews of this Part

             (1)  The Minister must cause 2 independent reviews to be conducted into whether the amount standing to the credit of, and to be credited to, the Water for the Environment Special Account is sufficient to increase, by 30 June 2024, the volume of the Basin water resources that is available for environmental use by 450 gigalitres, and to ease or remove constraints identified by the Authority on the capacity to deliver environmental water to the environmental assets of the Murray‑Darling Basin.

             (2)  A review must be conducted by a panel of at least 3 persons nominated by the Minister, after consulting each Basin State.

             (3)  In conducting a review under subsection (1), a panel must also consider the following:

                     (a)  the progress that has been, and is anticipated to be, made towards increasing the volume of the Basin water resources that is available for environmental use;

                     (b)  whether the design of projects in relation to which payments have been made under section 86AD is likely to be effective in increasing the volume of the Basin water resources that is available for environmental use by 450 gigalitres;

                     (c)  any other matter specified in writing by the Minister that is relevant to achieving the object of this Part.

             (4)  A panel must give the Minister a written report of a review.

             (5)  The report of the first review must be provided to the Minister by 30 September 2019.

             (6)  The report of the second review must be provided to the Minister by 30 September 2021.

             (7)  The Minister must cause a copy of a report of a review to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the day the report is given to the Minister.

             (8)  The Minister must table the Government’s response to the report by the following time:

                     (a)  for the first review—the time the Treasurer presents the budget to the Parliament for the 2020‑2021 financial year;

                     (b)  for the second review—the time the Treasurer presents the budget to the Parliament for the 2022‑2023 financial year.

Part 2ACritical human water needs

  

86A  Critical human water needs to be taken into account in developing Basin Plan

             (1)  Without limiting section 21, the Basin Plan must be prepared having regard to the fact that the Commonwealth and the Basin States have agreed:

                     (a)  that critical human water needs are the highest priority water use for communities who are dependent on Basin water resources; and

                     (b)  in particular that, to give effect to this priority in the River Murray System, conveyance water will receive first priority from the water available in the system.

             (2)  Critical human water needs are the needs for a minimum amount of water, that can only reasonably be provided from Basin water resources, required to meet:

                     (a)  core human consumption requirements in urban and rural areas; and

                     (b)  those non‑human consumption requirements that a failure to meet would cause prohibitively high social, economic or national security costs.

             (3)  The River Murray System is the aggregate of:

                     (a)  the main course of the River Murray upstream of the eastern boundary of South Australia; and

                     (b)  all tributaries entering that part of the main course upstream of Doctors Point (near Albury); and

                     (c)  all effluents and anabranches of that part of the main course; and

                     (d)  the watercourses connecting Lake Victoria to the main course; and

                     (e)  the Darling River downstream of the Menindee Lakes Storage; and

                      (f)  the upper River Murray storages, namely:

                              (i)  Lake Victoria; and

                             (ii)  the Menindee Lakes Storage; and

                            (iii)  the storages formed by Dartmouth Dam and Hume Dam; and

                            (iv)  the storages formed by the weirs, and weirs and locks, described in Schedule A to the Agreement that are upstream of the eastern boundary of South Australia; and

                     (g)  the River Murray in South Australia.

             (4)  Conveyance water is water in the River Murray System required to deliver water to meet critical human water needs as far downstream as Wellington in South Australia.

86B  Basin Plan to provide for critical human water needs

             (1)  The Basin Plan must:

                     (a)  include a statement of the amount of water required in each Basin State that is a referring State (other than Queensland) to meet the critical human water needs of the communities in the State that are dependent on the waters of the River Murray System; and

                     (b)  include a statement of the amount of conveyance water required to deliver the water referred to in paragraph (a); and

                     (c)  specify water quality trigger points and salinity trigger points at which water in the River Murray System becomes unsuitable for meeting critical human water needs.

             (2)  The reference in paragraph (1)(a) to communities in a Basin State who are dependent on the waters of the River Murray System does not include a reference to communities dependent on the waters of the Edward‑Wakool System downstream of Stevens Weir.

86C  Additional matters relating to monitoring, assessment and risk management

             (1)  The Basin Plan must also specify:

                     (a)  arrangements for monitoring matters relevant to critical human water needs, including monitoring the quality, quantity and flows of surface water, the health of ecosystems and social impacts on communities; and

                     (b)  the process for assessing, and managing risks to critical human water needs associated with, inflow prediction:

                              (i)  in the River Murray System; and

                             (ii)  in relation to works that are under the control of the body that is entitled, under the Snowy Hydro Corporatisation Act 1997 of New South Wales, to the Snowy water licence within the meaning of that Act; and

                     (c)  the risk management approach for inter‑annual planning relating to arrangements for critical human water needs in future years.

             (2)  The risk management approach referred to in paragraph (1)(c) must address the making of decisions about whether water is:

                     (a)  made available, in a particular year, for uses other than meeting critical human water needs; or

                     (b)  set aside for critical human water needs in future years.

86D  Additional matters relating to Tier 2 water sharing arrangements

             (1)  The Basin Plan must also:

                     (a)  specify the conditions under which, due to the likelihood that the State water sharing arrangements that would apply but for this Part (Tier 1 water sharing arrangements) will not ensure that there is enough water to meet conveyance water needs:

                              (i)  the Tier 1 water sharing arrangements cease to apply; and

                             (ii)  other State water sharing arrangements (Tier 2 water sharing arrangements), provided for in the Agreement, commence; and

                     (b)  specify the conditions under which Tier 2 water sharing arrangements cease to apply and Tier 1 water sharing arrangements recommence; and

                     (c)  include a reserves policy that, for periods during which Tier 2 water sharing arrangements apply:

                              (i)  specifies the annual volume of water required to be reserved to meet the shortfall in conveyance water worked out under subsection (2); and

                             (ii)  specifies the extent to which this volume may vary between years; and

                            (iii)  specifies the arrangements that are to apply to ensure that the volume of water required to meet the shortfall in conveyance water will be reserved and provided; and

                            (iv)  takes into account the potential inputs from the Murrumbidgee, Darling and Goulburn Rivers; and

                     (d)  specify arrangements for carrying water over in storage from one year to another for New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia; and

                     (e)  provide for any other matters necessary to give effect to arrangements for sharing water in the River Murray System and in the Murrumbidgee, Darling and Goulburn Rivers in order to provide conveyance water.

             (2)  The shortfall in conveyance water is worked out for the purposes of subparagraph (1)(c)(i) by subtracting:

                     (a)  the amount of conveyance water referred to in paragraph 86B(1)(b); from

                     (b)  the minimum inflow sequence to the River Murray System from:

                              (i)  natural flows; and

                             (ii)  works that are under the control of the body that is entitled, under the Snowy Hydro Corporatisation Act 1997 of New South Wales, to the Snowy water licence within the meaning of that Act.

             (3)  The arrangements referred to in paragraph (1)(d) must:

                     (a)  recognise South Australia’s right, as provided for in clauses 91 and 130 of the Agreement, to store its entitlement to water; and

                     (b)  recognise that each of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia is responsible for meeting the critical human water needs of that State, and will decide how water from its share is used.

             (4)  State water sharing arrangements are the provisions of the Agreement that deal with the sharing of surface water in the River Murray System.

Note:          The rules and accounting arrangements in the Agreement partition the shared surface water resource of the River Murray System between New South Wales and Victoria, and detail the entitlements to this water by South Australia. The Agreement includes provisions about the way in which the shares are defined, transferred and accounted for, access to and sharing of the storages, access to flows at different times and accounting for losses and overflows. All these provisions are used to determine the quantity of water in each State’s share at any given time.

86E  Additional matters relating to Tier 3 water sharing arrangements

             (1)  The Basin Plan must also:

                     (a)  specify the conditions under which, due to one or more of the circumstances referred to in subsection (2):

                              (i)  Tier 2 water sharing arrangements cease to apply; and

                             (ii)  other arrangements (Tier 3 water sharing arrangements), provided for in the Agreement, commence; and

                     (b)  specify the conditions under which Tier 3 water sharing arrangements cease to apply and Tier 2 water sharing arrangements recommence.

             (2)  For the purposes of paragraph (1)(a), the circumstances are:

                     (a)  there are extreme and unprecedented low levels of water availability in the River Murray System; or

                     (b)  there is extreme and unprecedented poor water quality in the water available in the River Murray System to meet critical human water needs; or

                     (c)  there is an extremely high risk that water will not be available in the River Murray System to meet critical human water needs during the next 12 months.

86F  Emergency responses to the reaching of trigger points

             (1)  If a water quality trigger point or salinity trigger point referred to in paragraph 86B(1)(c) is reached, the Authority must:

                     (a)  in consultation with the Basin Officials Committee, formulate an emergency response to ensure that water in the River Murray System that is available to meet critical human water needs is returned to a state suitable for meeting critical human water needs; and

                     (b)  subject to subsection (2), take the action necessary to implement the emergency response.

             (2)  The Authority must not take any action under paragraph (1)(b) that affects State water sharing arrangements or Border Rivers water sharing arrangements unless the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council has agreed to the action.

             (3)  Border Rivers water sharing arrangements are the agreements ratified by:

                     (a)  the New South Wales‑Queensland Border Rivers Act 1947 of New South Wales; and

                     (b)  the New South Wales‑Queensland Border Rivers Act 1946 of Queensland;

that deal with the distribution and use of surface water.

86G  Effect of this Part on Authority and other agencies of the Commonwealth

             (1)  The Authority and other agencies of the Commonwealth must perform their functions, and exercise their powers, consistently with, and in a manner that gives effect to, the matters included or specified in the Basin Plan under this Part.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to the performance of a function, or the exercise of a power, that affects State water sharing arrangements or Border Rivers water sharing arrangements, unless:

                     (a)  the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council has agreed to the Basin Plan applying to the performance of the function or the exercise of the power; or

                     (b)  the performance of the function or the exercise of the power takes place at a time when, under clause 135 of the Agreement, the provisions of the Basin Plan required by this Part are taken to be a Schedule to the Agreement.

             (3)  To avoid doubt, subsection (1) does not apply to the Authority’s functions and powers under this Part.

86H  Effect of this Part on other agencies and persons

             (1)  The Basin Officials Committee, an agency of a Basin State that is a referring State or an agency of the Australian Capital Territory must not:

                     (a)  do an act in relation to Basin water resources if the act is inconsistent with any of the matters included or specified in the Basin Plan under this Part; or

                     (b)  fail to do an act in relation to Basin water resources if the failure to do that act is inconsistent with any of those matters.

             (2)  Subsection (1) applies to an act of the Basin Officials Committee, an agency of a Basin State that is a referring State or an agency of the Australian Capital Territory only if the act is one that relates to the use or management of the Basin water resources.

             (3)  An operating authority, an infrastructure operator or the holder of a water access right must not, in a Basin State that is a referring State, or in the Australian Capital Territory:

                     (a)  do an act in relation to Basin water resources if the act is inconsistent with any of the matters included or specified in the Basin Plan under this Part; or

                     (b)  fail to do an act in relation to Basin water resources if the failure to do that act is inconsistent with any of those matters.

             (4)  Subsection (1) or (3) does not apply to an act, or failure to act, that affects State water sharing arrangements or Border Rivers water sharing arrangements, unless:

                     (a)  the Murray‑Darling Basin Ministerial Council has agreed to the Basin Plan applying to the act or failure; or

                     (b)  the act or failure takes place at a time when, under clause 135 of the Agreement, the provisions of the Basin Plan required by this Part are taken to be a Schedule to the Agreement.

86J  Additional powers of the Authority

             (1)  The Authority has, in connection with:

                     (a)  the performance of its functions and duties under this Part; and

                     (b)  the exercise of its powers under this Part;

such powers in a Basin State that is a referring State, or in the Australian Capital Territory, as it has in connection with the performance of its other functions under this Act.

             (2)  The application of subsection (1) to the Authority’s powers under Part 10 in relation to premises in, or information held in, a referring State or the Australian Capital Territory is not limited by section 219 or by subsection 222D(1).

             (3)  Part 10 so applies as if references in section 221 to the Authority’s functions under section 219 included references to the Authority’s functions under this Part.

             (4)  However:

                     (a)  an authorised officer must not enter premises under Subdivision B of Division 2 of that Part as applied by this section unless he or she reasonably believes this is necessary for the performance of any of the Authority’s functions under this Part; and

                     (d)  the Authority must not require a person to give information under Division 3 of that Part as applied by this section unless the Authority has reason to believe that information relating to either of the following matters:

                              (i)  the preparation and implementation of the Basin Plan in the way provided for in this Part;

                             (ii)  a matter that is relevant to the performance of the Authority’s functions under this Part and that is specified in regulations made for the purposes of this paragraph;

                            is in the person’s possession, custody or control (whether held electronically or in any other form).

86K  Additional functions of the Inspector‑General

             (1)  The Inspector‑General has, in connection with:

                     (a)  the performance of the Inspector‑General’s functions and duties under this Part; and

                     (b)  the exercise of the Inspector‑General’s powers under this Part;

such powers in a Basin State that is a referring State, or in the Australian Capital Territory, as the Inspector‑General has in connection with the performance of the Inspector‑General’s other functions under this Act.

             (2)  The application of subsection (1) to the Inspector‑General’s powers under Part 10AA in relation to premises in, or information held in, a referring State or the Australian Capital Territory is not limited by subsection 223(1) or 238(1).

             (3)  Part 10AA applies as if:

                     (a)  for the purposes of Subdivision B of Division 1 of that Part, a reference in the definition of evidential material in subsection 4(1) to a designated compliance provision included a reference to a provision of this Part or regulations made for the purposes of this Part; and

                     (b)  a reference in Subdivision B of Division 1 and Division 3 of that Part to a designated compliance provision included a reference to a provision of this Part or regulations made for the purposes of this Part.

             (4)  However, an authorised compliance officer must not:

                     (a)  enter premises under Subdivision B of Division 1 of Part 10AA as applied by this section; or

                     (b)  exercise any of the powers under that Subdivision;

except:

                     (c)  to the extent that this is reasonably necessary for any of the following purposes:

                              (i)  determining whether a provision of this Part or regulations made for the purposes of this Part has been, or is being, complied with;

                             (ii)  determining whether information given in compliance, or purported compliance, with section 222D, in its application under section 86J, is correct;

                            (iii)  determining whether information given in compliance, or purported compliance, with section 238, as applied by this section, is correct; or

                     (d)  if the authorised compliance officer has reasonable grounds for suspecting that there may be evidential material on the premises relating to a possible contravention of a provision of this Part or regulations made for the purposes of this Part.

             (5)  Also, the Inspector‑General must not require a person to give information under Division 3 of Part 10AA as applied by this section unless the Inspector‑General has reason to believe that information relating to a matter that is relevant to the performance of the Inspector‑General’s functions or duties, or the exercise of the Inspector‑General’s powers, under this Part is in the person’s possession, custody or control (whether held electronically or in any other form).

86L  Functions and powers of the Inspector‑General

                   The Inspector‑General has, for the purposes of this Part, the functions and powers conferred on it under Part 8 as an appropriate enforcement agency.

Part 3Productivity Commission inquiries

  

87  Productivity Commission inquiry—Basin Plan and water resource plans

Power to conduct inquiries

             (1)  During the 5 year period ending on 31 December 2018, the Productivity Minister must, under paragraph 6(1)(a) of the Productivity Commission Act 1998, refer to the Productivity Commission for inquiry the matter of the effectiveness of the implementation of the Basin Plan and the water resource plans.

             (2)  During the subsequent 5 year period that occurs after the completion of the Commission’s most recent inquiry under this section, the Productivity Minister must, under paragraph 6(1)(a) of the Productivity Commission Act 1998, refer to the Productivity Commission for inquiry the matter of the effectiveness of the implementation of the Basin Plan and the water resource plans.

Reports on inquiries etc.

             (3)  In referring the matter to the Productivity Commission for inquiry, the Productivity Minister must, under paragraph 11(1)(b) of the Productivity Commission Act 1998, specify the 5 year period in which the referral occurs as the period within which the Productivity Commission must submit its report on the inquiry to the Productivity Minister.

Note:          Under section 12 of the Productivity Commission Act 1998, the Productivity Minister must cause a copy of the Productivity Commission’s report to be tabled in each House of the Parliament.

          (3A)  Once the matter has been referred to the Productivity Commission for inquiry, the Chair of the Productivity Commission must establish a stakeholder working group in accordance with section 89.

             (4)  After submitting its report to the Productivity Minister and before a copy of the report is tabled in each House of the Parliament, the Productivity Commission must give a copy of the report to:

                     (a)  the Authority; and

                     (b)  the relevant State Minister for each of the Basin States.

Matters relating to industry, industry development and productivity

             (5)  For the purposes of paragraph 6(1)(a) of the Productivity Commission Act 1998, the matter mentioned in subsections (1) and (2) of this section is taken to be a matter relating to industry, industry development and productivity.

88  Productivity Commission inquiry—National Water Initiative

Power to conduct inquiries

             (1)  During the 3 year period ending on 31 December 2017, the Productivity Minister must, under paragraph 6(1)(a) of the Productivity Commission Act 1998, refer to the Productivity Commission for inquiry the matter of the progress of parties to the National Water Initiative towards achieving the objectives and outcomes of, and within the timelines required by, the National Water Initiative.

             (2)  During the subsequent 3 year period that occurs after the completion of the Commission’s most recent inquiry under this section, the Productivity Minister must, under paragraph 6(1)(a) of the Productivity Commission Act 1998, refer to the Productivity Commission for inquiry the matter of the progress of parties to the National Water Initiative towards achieving the objectives and outcomes of, and within the timelines required by, the National Water Initiative.

Reports on inquiries etc.

             (3)  In referring the matter to the Productivity Commission for inquiry, the Productivity Minister must:

                     (a)  under paragraph 11(1)(b) of the Productivity Commission Act 1998, specify the 3 year period in which the referral occurs as the period within which the Productivity Commission must submit its report on the inquiry to the Productivity Minister; and

                     (b)  under paragraph 11(1)(d) of that Act, require the Productivity Commission to make recommendations on actions that the parties to the National Water Initiative might take to better achieve the objectives and outcomes of the National Water Initiative.

Note:          Under section 12 of the Productivity Commission Act 1998, the Productivity Minister must cause a copy of the Productivity Commission’s report to be tabled in each House of the Parliament.

          (3A)  Once the matter has been referred to the Productivity Commission for inquiry, the Chair of the Productivity Commission must establish a stakeholder working group in accordance with section 89.

Regard to be had to objectives of National Water Initiative

          (3B)  When conducting an inquiry, the Productivity Commission must have regard to the objectives provided for in clause 23 of the National Water Initiative.

             (4)  After submitting its report to the Productivity Minister and before a copy of the report is tabled in each House of the Parliament, the Productivity Commission must give a copy of the report to:

                     (a)  the Council of Australian Governments; and

                     (b)  any subcommittee (however described) of the Council that deals with matters relating to water.

Matters relating to industry, industry development and productivity

             (5)  For the purposes of paragraph 6(1)(a) of the Productivity Commission Act 1998, the matter mentioned in subsections (1) and (2) of this section is taken to be a matter relating to industry, industry development and productivity.

89  Stakeholder working group

             (1)  A stakeholder working group is to be established for each matter referred to the Productivity Commission for inquiry (a referred matter).

             (2)  A stakeholder working group for a referred matter:

                     (a)  is to exchange information and views on the referred matter or any issues relevant to it; and

                     (b)  may provide advice to the Productivity Commission on the referred matter or any issues relevant to it.

             (3)  A stakeholder working group for a referred matter is to consist of such persons as the Chair of the Productivity Commission thinks fit who are representative of any:

                     (a)  agricultural, environmental, industry, Indigenous or urban water body; or

                     (b)  other body with an interest in the referred matter.

             (4)  Subject to subsections (5) and (6), the Chair of the Productivity Commission may determine:

                     (a)  any allowances that are payable to a member of a stakeholder working group in relation to his or her contribution as a member of the stakeholder working group; and

                     (b)  any other matter relating to the functioning of a stakeholder working group.

             (5)  Despite the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973, a member of a stakeholder working group is not to be paid any remuneration in relation to his or her contribution as a member of the stakeholder working group.

             (6)  A stakeholder working group for a referred matter must meet at least twice about the referred matter before the Productivity Commission submits its report on the matter to the Productivity Minister.

             (7)  To avoid doubt, a member of a stakeholder working group is not a public office within the meaning of the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973.

Part 4Basin water charge and water market rules

Division 1Water charge rules

91  Regulated water charges

             (1)  This Division applies to the following kinds of charges:

                     (a)  fees or charges (however described) payable to an irrigation infrastructure operator for:

                              (i)  access to the operator’s irrigation network (or services provided in relation to that access); or

                             (ii)  changing access to the operator’s irrigation network (or services provided in relation to that access); or

                            (iii)  terminating access to the operator’s irrigation network (or services provided in relation to that access); or

                            (iv)  surrendering to the operator a right to the delivery of water through the operator’s irrigation network;

                     (b)  bulk water charges;

                     (c)  charges for water planning and water management activities;

                     (d)  a fee or charge (however described) that relates to:

                              (i)  access to water service infrastructure; or

                             (ii)  services provided in relation to access to water service infrastructure; or

                            (iii)  services provided through the operation of water service infrastructure; or

                            (iv)  the taking of water from a water resource;

                            and is of a kind prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph.

             (2)  This Division applies to a charge of the kind referred to in subsection (1) only to the extent to which the charge relates to:

                     (a)  Basin water resources; or

                     (b)  water service infrastructure that carries Basin water resources; or

                     (c)  water service infrastructure that carries water that has been taken from a Basin water resource; or

                     (d)  water access rights, irrigation rights or water delivery rights in relation to Basin water resources.

             (3)  However, this Division does not apply to charges in respect of urban water supply activities beyond the point at which the water has been removed from a Basin water resource.

             (4)  Charges to which this Division applies are regulated water charges for the purposes of this Act.

92  Water charge rules

             (1)  The Minister may make rules (to be called water charge rules), applying in Basin States that are referring States and in the Australian Capital Territory, that:

                     (a)  relate to regulated water charges; and

                     (b)  deal with one or more of the matters referred to in subsection (3); and

                     (c)  contribute to achieving the Basin water charging objectives and principles set out in Schedule 2.

             (2)  Water charge rules are legislative instruments.

             (3)  Water charge rules may deal with the following matters:

                     (a)  the rules that must be applied in determining the amount of:

                              (i)  regulated water charges generally; or

                             (ii)  regulated water charges of a particular kind;

                     (b)  the terms and conditions that may, or must not, be imposed in relation to:

                              (i)  regulated water charges generally; or

                             (ii)  regulated water charges of a particular kind;

                     (c)  the determination, or approval, by the ACCC of regulated water charges;

                     (d)  the process to be followed in applying for, and making or giving, determinations or approvals of the kind referred to in paragraph (c);

                     (e)  the accreditation by the ACCC of arrangements under which regulated water charges are determined or approved by agencies of the States (instead of by the ACCC);

                      (f)  the process to be followed in applying for, and making or giving, accreditation of the kind referred to in paragraph (e);

                     (g)  the terms and conditions on which arrangements are accredited under rules made for the purposes of paragraph (e) (including the determination of some or all of those terms and conditions by the ACCC);

                     (h)  the obligations to be imposed in relation to the accreditation of arrangements under rules made for the purposes of paragraph (e) (including the determination of some or all of those obligations by the ACCC);

                      (i)  the prohibition of regulated water charges of a particular kind in the circumstances specified in the rules;

                      (j)  the imposition of a requirement on the person determining the amount of regulated water charges to publish:

                              (i)  the details of the charges; and

                             (ii)  the process for determining the amount of the charges;

                     (k)  transitional arrangements for the introduction of, or changes to, water charge rules;

                      (l)  any matter that was dealt with in:

                              (i)  paragraph 15(3)(c) of Schedule E to the former MDB Agreement; or

                             (ii)  the Access and Exit Fees Protocol to the former MDB Agreement made under paragraph 6(1)(f) of Schedule E to the former MDB Agreement.

             (4)  Without limiting paragraph (3)(c), water charge rules may:

                     (a)  specify the effect, and the period of effect, of a determination or approval of the kind referred to in that paragraph; and

                     (b)  allow the ACCC to extend the period of effect of a particular determination or approval of the kind referred to in that paragraph beyond the period specified for the purposes of paragraph (a) of this subsection.

             (5)  Without limiting paragraph (3)(d), water charge rules may specify:

                     (a)  the information that an applicant for a determination or approval of the kind referred to in paragraph (3)(c) must give the ACCC in relation to the application; and

                     (b)  the timing of the steps in the process in which:

                              (i)  the application is made; and

                             (ii)  the determination is made or the approval is given.

             (6)  Without limiting paragraph (3)(e), the rules made for the purposes of that paragraph may provide for the circumstances in which:

                     (a)  an accreditation may be revoked; or

                     (b)  the terms and conditions on which an accreditation is given may be varied.

             (7)  Without limiting subsection (3), particular water charge rules may be limited to either or both of the following:

                     (a)  particular kinds of regulated water charges;

                     (b)  regulated water charges in relation to particular water resources.

             (8)  Without limiting subsection (3), water charge rules may provide that a particular provision of the rules is a civil penalty provision.

             (9)  The civil penalty for a contravention of a provision specified under subsection (8) is 200 penalty units.

           (10)  Without limiting subsection (3), water charge rules may provide that a person who suffers loss or damage as a result of conduct, or an omission, of another person that contravenes the water charge rules may recover the amount of the loss or damage by action against that other person or against any person involved in the contravention.

93  Process for making water charge rules

             (1)  The Minister must ask the ACCC for advice about water charge rules the Minister proposes to make, or about proposed amendments or revocations of rules.

             (2)  The ACCC must give the Minister advice about the proposed water charge rules, or proposed amendments or revocations.

             (3)  In giving advice to the Minister about proposed water charge rules, or proposed amendments or revocations, in relation to regulated water charges payable to infrastructure operators, the ACCC must have regard to:

                     (a)  the governance arrangements of those operators; and

                     (b)  the current charging arrangements of those operators; and

                     (c)  the history of the charging arrangements of those operators.

             (4)  The Minister must have regard to the ACCC’s advice in making, amending or revoking the water charge rules.

             (5)  The regulations must provide for the process that the Minister is to follow in making, amending or revoking water charge rules.

             (6)  Without limiting subsection (5), the regulations must provide for:

                     (a)  consultations with the Basin States and with infrastructure operators; and

                     (b)  public consultations;

as part of the process of making, amending or revoking water charge rules.

             (7)  If:

                     (a)  the Minister makes, amends or revokes water charge rules; and

                     (b)  the rules do not reflect the advice that the ACCC gave the Minister under subsection (2) in relation to the rules, or the amendments or revocations;

the Minister must, when the rules, amendments or revocations are laid before a House of the Parliament under the Legislation Act 2003, also lay before that House a document that sets out:

                     (c)  the respects in which the rules, amendments or revocations do not reflect the advice given by the ACCC; and

                     (d)  the Minister’s reasons for departing from that advice.

94  ACCC to monitor water charges and compliance

             (1)  The ACCC is to monitor:

                     (a)  regulated water charges; and

                     (b)  compliance with the water charge rules.

             (2)  The ACCC must give the Minister a report on the results of such monitoring.

             (3)  The reports under subsection (2) must be given to the Minister in accordance with an agreement between the Minister and the ACCC.

95  Minister may formulate model water charge rules

             (1)  The Minister may formulate, in writing, model rules for regulated water charges.

Note:          The model rules do not have any legal effect under this Act but are available for adoption by States, Territories, infrastructure operators and other persons.

             (2)  Model rules formulated under subsection (1) are not legislative instruments.

96  Transitional provisions relating to water charge rules

             (1)  A request that the Minister made to the ACCC before the commencement of this section, under subsection 93(1) as in force before that commencement, is taken after that commencement to be a request that the Minister made under that subsection as in force after that commencement.

             (2)  Regulations made before the commencement of this section for the purposes of subsection 93(5) or (6) as in force before that commencement continue in force after that commencement as if they were made for the purposes of that subsection as in force after that commencement.

Division 2Water market rules

97  Water market rules

             (1)  The Minister may make rules (to be called water market rules), applying in Basin States that are referring States and in the Australian Capital Territory, that:

                     (a)  relate to an act that an irrigation infrastructure operator does, or fails to do, in a way that prevents or unreasonably delays arrangements being made that would reduce the share component of a water access entitlement of the operator to allow:

                              (i)  a person’s entitlement to water under an irrigation right against the operator; or

                             (ii)  a part of that entitlement;

                            to be permanently transformed into a water access entitlement that is held by someone other than the operator; and

                     (b)  contribute to achieving the Basin water market and trading objectives and principles set out in Schedule 3.

Arrangements of the kind referred to in paragraph (a) are referred to in this section as transformation arrangements.

             (2)  Water market rules are legislative instruments.

             (3)  Without limiting subsection (1), water market rules may deal with the restrictions that an irrigation infrastructure operator may, or may not, impose in relation to:

                     (a)  transformation arrangements; or

                     (b)  the trading or transferring, by a person who had an irrigation right against the operator, of a water access entitlement, or part of such an entitlement, obtained as a result of transformation arrangements.

             (4)  Without limiting subsection (3), the restrictions referred to in that subsection include:

                     (a)  restrictions imposed by including provisions in a contract, arrangement or understanding between an irrigation infrastructure operator and:

                              (i)  a person who has an irrigation right against the operator; or

                             (ii)  a person who has a water access entitlement, or part of such an entitlement, that the person obtained as a result of transformation arrangements in relation to an irrigation right the person had against the operator; and

                     (b)  restrictions imposed by the way in which an irrigation infrastructure operator conducts its operations.

             (5)  Without limiting subsection