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Published: 05 June 2018   •   Media release

The MDBA today released its compliance priorities for 2018–19, as it continues to work to strengthen compliance and enforcement across the Basin.

Acting MDBA Chief Executive, Carl Binning, said the priorities would ensure that efforts and resources were directed to areas of strategic importance and high risk, and underlined the MDBA's ongoing commitment to delivering on the outcomes of the Basin-wide review of compliance.

"In 2018–19, we'll be focusing on five key areas to achieve better compliance and enforcement outcomes, such as accurate reporting of water trade prices, testing the robustness of compliance and enforcement of unauthorised water take, and looking at how reporting of real-time usage could help protect environmental water," Mr Binning said.

"Access to accurate price information is fundamental to a competitive water market, and under the Basin Plan Water Trading Rules, water trade prices must be made available to authorities, yet a large number of trades are reported at zero value.  Some of this is legitimate, but we'll be undertaking an audit of this issue, to increase accurate price disclosure by water brokers and sellers.

"While there has been significant progress over the last 12 months to improve compliance in the northern Basin, the need to protect environmental water and combat unauthorised take remains a high priority, particularly in the Barwon–Darling.

"We'll be auditing the compliance and enforcement arrangements designed to prevent unauthorised water take in the Barwon–Darling, to ensure they are robust and effective.  We'll also be working with NSW to ensure that strong protections for environmental water are enshrined in the Barwon–Darling Water Resource Plan.

"Water Resource Plans (WRPs) will become the cornerstone of compliance from mid-2019 onwards, giving effect to the new legally binding limits on water take under the Basin Plan.  That's why we will continue to place a high priority on ensuring that states have robust and effective WRPs in place in all catchments by 30 June 2019.

"Of course, having strong compliance and enforcement rules and policies in place is not enough—there must also be accurate and reliable ways to detect non-compliance across the entire Basin.  We will continue to push for a ‘no meter, no take' approach across the Basin, and work to develop remote sensing capabilities and other technologies to better monitor water use and support compliance and enforcement.

"The Basin Plan is not a pipe-dream—it's the law.  All Australians need to have confidence that it is being complied with.  The MDBA will continue to work to ensure that there are strong compliance and enforcement regimes in place across the Basin that all Australians can have faith in."

The compliance priorities 2018-19 can be viewed on the MDBA website


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