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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 16963

Water theft- COAG agree to develop new national approach

Photo of Rudd, Kevin

Rudd, Kevin

Period of Service: 03/12/2007 to 24/06/2010

More information about Rudd, Kevin on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 07/12/2009

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 16963

Today's Council of Australian Governments meeting has taken a significant step towards a nationally consistent approach to tackling water theft with the adoption of a new National Framework on Water Compliance and Enforcement.

With this agreement, each jurisdiction will now develop a plan to increase compliance and enforcement activities for COAG approval next year.

Australia needs a stronger compliance and enforcement regime, in the Murray-Darling Basin and elsewhere, because water theft means less water available for other water users, and less water for the environment.

The Australian Government has committed $60 million to improve water compliance and enforcement activities nationally.

Water theft is not a new phenomenon for Australia, but in the Murray Darling Basin in particular, over-allocation combined with the current drought has brought the problem and its consequences to the fore.

If just 1 per cent of the water resources in the Murray-Darling Basin were taken illegally each year, this would represent an entitlement value of over $200 million.

Today COAG has also agreed to adopt a National Framework for Non-urban Water Metering to improve accuracy of metering of water extractions, and to complete water sharing plans for all significant water resources consistent with the National Water Initiative.

COAG also adopted a National Water Skills Strategy.

An earlier report to COAG highlighted the need for appropriately skilled people to meet the needs of the water industry. This strategy to address the current and emerging skills shortages has been developed in consultation with industry.

National agreement on this package of measures will maintain the momentum of water reform, building on the Australian Government's $12.9 billion 'Water for the Future' initiative.

Transcript 16963