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Published: 12 December 2018   •   Media release

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority has welcomed the endorsement of the Murray–Darling Basin Compliance Compact by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the state and territory First Ministers at today's meeting of the Council of Australian Governments.

The Compliance Compact sets out an agreed workplan for the Commonwealth and Basin state governments and the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to ensure adherence to the rules that support fair and transparent water use and management in the Murray–Darling Basin.

The MDBA Chair, Neil Andrew, welcomed the highest level of recognition by government leaders of the need for robust and consistent application of laws protecting the Basin's water resources.

"The implementation of the Basin Plan to build the future health of the environment, industries and communities of the Murray–Darling depends on the strength of partnership and collaboration between the Commonwealth and the governments of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australian and the ACT," Mr Andrew said.

"Underpinning that commitment is the need to enforce the rules governing access to the Basin's finite water resources. The Compliance Compact provides a pathway to ensure all parties, including the MDBA, do just that."

Mr Andrew said the Compact arose from the November 2017 recommendations of the MDBA's and independent panel's Basin-wide Water Compliance Review, which was conducted at the request of the Australian Government. The Basin's water ministers approved the Compact at the Murray–Darling Basin Ministerial Council meeting in June 2018, conditional on COAG's endorsement.

"Full respect of state and Commonwealth laws governing water use under the Basin Plan is at the heart of fair and transparent water use for the long-term, and key to maintaining the trust of water users in the Basin.

"As the regulator of Basin water management, across all rivers and state borders, the MDBA has been getting on with the job of ensuring that Australians across jurisdictions can have confidence in robust water management in the Murray–Darling. That includes farmers whose businesses rely on water rules being enforced, communities who rightly expect environmental water to be supporting river ecosystems and making sure the efforts of those who do the right thing are not undermined.

"We will be pleased to present the first progress report against the Compliance Compact commitments to the Ministerial Council meeting on 14 December 2018. The report will spell out the extent of work done to date by all governments to improve their compliance systems in accordance with the agreed program of activities for each government as well as the MDBA," Mr Andrew said.

Among the MDBA's commitments under the Water Compliance Review is the SDL Reporting and Compliance framework, which has been completed and is available on the MDBA website.

The MDBA's Compliance and Enforcement Policy 2018–21 can also be found on the MDBA website.

ENDS

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