Independent review of the Water Act 2007

​​On 12 May 2014, the former Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, Senator Hon. Simon Birmingham, announced an independent review of the Water Act 2007.

About the review

This was the first review of the Act since it commenced on 3 March 2008. In accordance with its terms of reference, the review assessed the operation of the Act, the extent to which its objects have been achieved and opportunities to minimise regulatory burden imposed on irrigation infrastructure operators, water managers and irrigators.

The review was undertaken by an independent Expert Panel comprising Mr Eamonn Moran PSM QC (Chair), Mr Peter Anderson, Mr Gavin McMahon and Dr Steve Morton.

Review report

Publication details

Commonwealth of Australia, 2014

The Review report was tabled out of session on 19 December 2014. The report made 23 recommendations and 30 conclusions relevant to the terms of reference.

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Report of the Independent Review of the Water Act 2007 PDF PDF Icon 1481.2 MB
Report of the Independent Review of the Water Act 2007 DOCX Word Icon19010 MB
Report of the Independent Review of the Water Act 2007 — Recommendations and Conclusions PDF PDF Icon982 KB
Report of the Independent Review of the Water Act 2007 — Recommendations and Conclusions DOCX Word Icon1134 KB

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Government response

Publication details

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, 2015

On 3 December, the Minister for Agriculture and Water resources table the government’s response to the Review report and introduced the Water Amendment (Review Implementation and other Measures) Bill 2015 to the Parliament. The Australian Government’s response to the Water Act Review accepted all 23 of the expert panel’s recommendations in full or in part.

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Report of the Independent Review of the Water Act 2007: Australian Government respons PDF PDF Icon27334 KB
Report of the Independent Review of the Water Act 2007: Australian Government respons DOCX Word Icon27162 KB

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The review recommendations were incorporated into the Water Act 2007 through the Water Amendment (Review Implementation and Other Measures) Act 2016, which was passed by the Australian Parliament on 2 May 2016. The amendments to the Water Act 2007:

  • allow for greater flexibility in the use of the proceeds of water trading by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder
  • require five-yearly reviews of the socio-economic impacts of the Basin Plan
  • ensure a further review of the Water Act in 2024
  • allow for the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder to sell water in circumstances where allocation would otherwise be foregone
  • reduce regulatory burden on the irrigation sector and state government agencies
  • ensure the Water Act more effectively supports the delivery of the Basin Plan.

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Public consultation

Extensive consultation was undertaken to inform the review’s findings.

Interested parties were invited to make submissions between 26 May 2014 and 4 July 2014. The 73 public submissions made are available below.

The expert panel also conducted early meetings with peak bodies and all states and territories; and interactive roundtable discussions with groups from a range of sectors, including industry, environment, Indigenous and community groups and governments.

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Submissions

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DocumentPagesFile size
Australian Competition And Consumer Commission PDF PDF Icon14275 KB
Australian Conservation Foundation PDF PDF Icon9364 KB
Australian Dairy Industry Council PDF PDF Icon9197 KB
Australian Forest Products Association PDF PDF Icon7193 KB
Australian Network of Environmental Defenders Offices (ANEDO) PDF PDF Icon6242 KB
Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association PDF PDF Icon2375 KB
Barbara Darvall PDF PDF Icon110 KB
Birdlife Southern NSW PDF PDF Icon4204 KB
Brian (Barney) Stevens PDF PDF Icon1306 KB
Conservation Council SA PDF PDF Icon5232 KB
Cotton Australia PDF PDF Icon8179 KB
Cumberland Bird Observers Club Inc PDF PDF Icon3345 KB
Dorte Planert PDF PDF Icon183 KB
Dr Richard Mallaby PDF PDF Icon111 KB
Environment Victoria PDF PDF Icon8308 KB
Environmental Farmers Network PDF PDF Icon195 KB
Environmental Justice Australia PDF PDF Icon11129 KB
Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations PDF PDF Icon12224 KB
Friends of the Earth Melbourne PDF PDF Icon8212 KB
Frontier Economics PDF PDF Icon4209 KB
Geoff Wise PDF PDF Icon2267 KB
Goulburn Valley Environment Group PDF PDF Icon2104 KB
Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association PDF PDF Icon561.6 MB
Hastings Birdwatchers PDF PDF Icon2161 KB
Ingrid Hindell PDF PDF Icon145 KB
Inland Rivers Network PDF PDF Icon470 KB
James Stranger PDF PDF Icon142 KB
Jane Judd PDF PDF Icon137 KB
Katie O'Bryan PDF PDF Icon3369 KB
The Law Society of New South Wales PDF PDF Icon32.7 MB
Linden Gillbank PDF PDF Icon148 KB
Mark Mathews PDF PDF Icon4527 KB
Minerals Council of Australia PDF PDF Icon549 KB
Murray Darling Association PDF PDF Icon5465 KB
Murray-Darling Basin Authority PDF PDF Icon105.4 MB
Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations PDF PDF Icon2188 KB
Murray Irrigation PDF PDF Icon18506 KB
Murray Valley Private Diverters PDF PDF Icon1755.7 MB
National Farmer's Federation PDF PDF Icon21564 KB
National Irrigators Council PDF PDF Icon16685 KB
National Native Title Council PDF PDF Icon13248 KB
National Parks Association of NSW PDF PDF Icon2261 KB
National Water Brokers Pty Ltd PDF PDF Icon7224 KB
Nature Conservation Council PDF PDF Icon9613 KB
Neville Schrader PDF PDF Icon291 KB
New South Wales PDF PDF Icon287 KB
Nick Ivanoff PDF PDF Icon141 KB
Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations PDF PDF Icon131.1 MB
Northern Basin Advisory Committee, MDBA PDF PDF Icon3122 KB
NSW Farmers Association PDF PDF Icon297 KB
NSW Farmers Association PDF PDF Icon8251 KB
NSW Irrigators Council PDF PDF Icon17476 KB
Paul Vale PDF PDF Icon2632 KB
Peel Valley Water Users Association PDF PDF Icon2541 KB
Peel Valley Water Users Association PDF PDF Icon3148 KB
Peter Jerie PDF PDF Icon166 KB
Primary Producers SA PDF PDF Icon2256 KB
Queensland PDF PDF Icon91.3 MB
Queensland Farmers Federation PDF PDF Icon2176 KB
Queensland Murray-Darling Committee Inc. PDF PDF Icon4374 KB
Riverina and Murray Regional Organisation of Councils (RAMROC) PDF PDF Icon341 KB
Robert Vincin PDF PDF Icon285.7 MB
Robyn Caulfield PDF PDF Icon132 KB
Sarah Moles PDF PDF Icon185 KB
South Australia PDF PDF Icon241.8 MB
Southern Riverina Irrigators PDF PDF Icon6217 KB
State Water (NSW) PDF PDF Icon55321 KB
Stephen Wood PDF PDF Icon133 KB
Susanna Cheng PDF PDF Icon139 KB
Victorian Government PDF PDF Icon29501 KB
Victorian Recreational Fishing Peak Body (VRFish) PDF PDF Icon275 KB
Waterfind PDF PDF Icon11322 KB
Western Murray Irrigation Limited PDF PDF Icon9511 KB
Wyong Shire Council PDF PDF Icon2602 KB

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DocumentPagesFile size
Terms of reference - Review of the Water Act 2007 PDF PDF Icon2136 KB
Terms of reference - Review of the Water Act 2007 DOC Word Icon234 KB
Water Act to undergo independent review—media release, 12 May 2014HTML 
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