Basin Plan Timeline 2007 to 2011
The Commonwealth Government's Water Act 2007 provides for the development of a Basin Plan that imposes legal limits on the amount of water that can be taken from the Murray-Darling Basin's surface and groundwater resources.
The Plan was signed into law by the Commonwealth Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, the Hon Tony Burke MP, on 22 November 2012. The Plan was tabled in both Houses of Federal Parliament on 26 November 2012. Motions to disallow the Plan were defeated in the Senate on 28 November and in the House of Representatives on 29 November.
The Plan will introduce a new regime for the management of the water resources of the Murray-Darling Basin.
This is a chronological account of major milestones since the Commonwealth Government Water Act 2007 was passed in Federal Parliament, including the Victorian Government's response to the many steps in the development of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
The Water Act 2007 passes through Federal Parliament.
The Act is based on existing Commonwealth Constitutional powers.
The Commonwealth Water Act 2007 requires the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to prepare a Basin Plan for the integrated management of Basin water resources in order to protect and restore key environmental assets and ecosystem functions. In doing this, it must take into account the impact on individual communities, industries, regions and the wider economy.
The Water Act sets out various requirements in relation to the Basin Plan, including its mandatory content; its purpose and the basis on which it must be developed; and the minimum consultation required on the proposed plan.
The Water Act 2007 commenced.
Basin State Governments pass legislation to provide for a limited referral of powers to the Commonwealth.
The State Government referral of powers provides for the following:
Read more about the agreement on Murray-Darling Basin reform at the Council of Australian Governments website.
Federal Parliament approved amendments to the Water Act 2007 that were based on a limited referral of powers from the Basin jurisdictions.
The Water Act 2007 is amended to reflect the State referral of powers.
The Authority retains its responsibility for preparing the Basin Plan.
MDBA releases its Basin Concept Statement
The concept statement was the first document published by the MDBA on the Basin Plan. The purpose was to "explain in general terms the key elements and approach being taken in developing the Basin Plan" (p. i).
Read the media release and the Basin Plan Concept Statement on the MDBA website.
MDBA releases its Issues Paper: Development of Sustainable Diversion Limits for the Murray-Darling Basin Discussion Paper released. Public submissions are invited on the Issues Paper.
The Issues Paper explored matters relevant to developing sustainable diversion limits (SDLs) for the Basin and described the relationship between SDLs and the other elements of the Basin Plan. It set out a proposed process for developing SDLs and how they could be expressed in the Basin Plan. Read more on the MDBA website.
The then named Department of Sustainabillity and Environment provided a submission to the Authority on the Issues Paper.
MDBA releases its Guide to the Proposed Basin Plan. Public submission are invited on the Guide.
The Guide contained 21 volumes, including an Overview, Technical Background and a series of Regional Summaries. The intent of the volumes was to 'inform consideration and discussion of the proposed Murray-Darling Basin Plan' (Guide Overview; p. iv). Read the Guide on the MDBA website.
The Victorian Government provided a submission to the Authority on the Guide. The Government called on the MDBA to urgently revisit its planning process to achieve the right balance and positive results for food producers, communities and the environment.
The Victorian Government asked the MDBA to revise the timing for drafting the Basin Plan, so as to better engage with Basin communities and more closely involve Basin Governments in developing a comprehensive plan for a better Basin.
The Victorian Government suggested that an effective Basin Plan would include environmental engineering works and infrastructure investment to get measurable water savings for the environment, rather than drastic cuts in water entitlements held by food producers.
Victorian Government submission documents
Announcement of Parliamentary Inquiry into the Basin Plan.
The former Commonwealth Ministers for Regional Australia, for Water and for Agriculture jointly announced a Parliamentary Inquiry into the impact of the Basin Plan in regional Australia. The Inquiry Report was tabled on 2 June 2011, and made 21 recommendations aimed at better engaging local communities and providing "win-win" solutions for communities and the environment.
Victorian Government announces a Basin Plan advisory group will be formed.
The Victorian Government announces a Basin Plan advisory group will be formed, including representatives from community, farming, environmental, industry, business and local government groups.
Victorian Government calls for members for its Basin Plan Advisory Group.
The Victorian Government calls for six community members to join Victoria's Basin Plan Advisory Group.
Victorian Government encourages community engagement.
The Victorian Government launches online engagement forum for feedback on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
MDBA releases its proposed Basin Plan. Public submissions are invited on the proposed Plan, and a 20-week consultation period commences.
Alongside the proposed Plan, the Authority released a Plain English Summary, which provides a chapter-by-chapter explanation of the proposed plan; and a broader context document, Delivering a Healthy, Working Basin.
Read the following documents on the MDBA website: