In releasing the terms for the Inquiry, Treasurer Morrison highlighted that:
Reform of the water sector has been ongoing over several decades, reflecting the fundamental importance of water to our economy and the significant challenges involved in managing a shared natural resource often impacted by periods of scarcity.
The Inquiry is to assess the progress by the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments in achieving the objectives and outcomes of the National Water Initiative (NWI), which was struck in 2004.
NFF Vice President and Water Taskforce Chair Les Gordon said the inquiry was an opportunity to take stock of what had been achieved and what more could be done.
“Water is our farmers’ most precious resource – its careful management is vital to the continued sustainability and prosperity of our agriculture sector.”
“The terms of reference released yesterday provide the chance to put an independent lens over the good and the bad results of water reform and to identify where more work is needed,” Mr Gordon said.
Importantly, the inquiry will look not just at the national level, but also assess the progress by the State and Territory governments in achieving the objectives and outcomes of the National Water Initiative (NWI), which was struck in 2004.
The next steps in the Inquiry process will be the announcement of the stakeholder working group and the release of the Issues Paper for the Inquiry in March.
More information on the inquiry, including the full terms of reference and a copy of the 2004 NWI Agreement can be found at http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/water-reform