PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 15436

Water Reform to Proceed

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 13/09/2007

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 15436

I am pleased to announce that New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia are receiving $43 million in competition payments from the Australian Government following progress in implementing water reforms.

These payments to the states were suspended in 2005-06 due to a lack of progress in implementing key water reforms. My decision to lift the suspension follows an independent assessment by the National Water Commission of progress by the states in implementing their COAG water reform commitments.

The Commission's original assessment in 2006 found that NSW, Victoria and South Australia had made insufficient progress in meeting their interstate water trading commitments for the southern Murray-Darling Basin. As a consequence, $13.3 million worth of National Competition Policy payments were withheld from NSW, $9.9 million from Victoria, and $3 million from South Australia.

Since the 2006 assessment, NSW, Victoria and South Australia have made a significant effort to put in place arrangements to allow permanent interstate trade of water access entitlements. The Commission has therefore recommended the Commonwealth lift the suspension of competition payments for these states in relation to interstate trade.

In addition, a further $13 million in suspended 2004-05 payments will also be provided to following satisfactory improvement in its water planning practices. The Commission also found that Western Australia has made a significant effort to improve its water planning frameworks and processes over the past year. Accordingly, the Commonwealth accepts the Commission's recommendation to lift the $4 million suspension of 2005-06 National Competition Policy payments for Western Australia.

Since National Competition Policy payments were first made in 1997-98, the state governments will have received approximately $4.9 billion in competition payments. I call on states to continue their water reforms, in particular so that we can implement - in full - the $10 billion National Plan for Water Security.

The Commission's 2007 follow up water assessment is the final under the current National Competition Policy arrangements. Details of the 2007 assessment will be available on the Commission's website at

Transcript 15436