07/07/2006 - 16:32

Draft water reform blueprint launched

07/07/2006 - 16:32

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A draft blueprint for water reform, released today, is expected to spark broad discussion on the future of water resource management in Western Australia.

Draft water reform blueprint launched


A draft blueprint for water reform, released today, is expected to spark broad discussion on the future of water resource management in Western Australia.

Water Resources Minister John Kobelke said the discussion paper by the Water Reform Implementation Committee (WRIC) outlined a raft of proposals for the short and long term management of water.

Mr Kobelke said the Department of Water would closely monitor the outcomes of the debate.

"This draft blueprint for water reform in WA offers a direction and structure for our State's role in the National Water Initiative (NWI) and our management of water systems not just for this generation but for the future," he said.

"The main thrust of the proposals relate to the provision of greater security of access and certainty of process for water users, including our agriculture, horticulture and mining industries, while ensuring that environmental water needs are respected."

The Minister said the proposal to develop statutory water management plans complemented the State and regional water planning process that was already under way.

The issues being considered by the committee include:

  • updating the water entitlement system;
  • facilitating water trading;
  • implementing water metering;
  • recovering water resource management costs;
  • land and water planning for the longer-term protection of agricultural land;
  • increasing self-management; and
  • investing in water use efficiency.

Mr Kobelke urged water users, members of the public, the business community, industry and other organisations to voice their opinions and preferences on the committee's proposals.

"This is a challenging agenda but a very necessary one," he said.

"We are facing increased demand for water in WA, from industry, business and the community. The work of the WRIC highlights the need for all sectors to continue to work together."

The Minister said that with WA's signing of the NWI in April, there was a need for greater focus on water reform. He said the committee's discussion paper was part of that process and aimed to investigate the best way forward for WA's water resource management.

The WRIC - which provides advice to Government on water reform initiatives and is chaired by Mr Ross Kelly - will give its final advice to Government by the end of 2006.

 

Below are responses from CCIWA and the Pastoralists and Graziers Assoc:

Action on water reform welcomed

Statement by CCI Chief Executive John Langoulant

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomes the draft blueprint for water reform in Western Australia released today by the Minister for Water Resources, John Kobelke.

The Chamber supports the principles and objectives outlined in the draft. When implemented, the actions required under the blueprint will lead to much-needed competitive reforms in the sector and enhance opportunities in an open marketplace.

A strong and competitive business sector involved in the water market can deliver customers greater choice through diversity of supply.

Increased opportunities in the water sector for competition or effective co-operation will result in innovation, reliability and security of supply, and better outcomes for customers.

Success in market reform may ultimately also be reflected in community service obligations cost savings to Government.



WATER REFORM PROCESS FLAWED - PGA

WA's water reform process will continue to be flawed unless the Carpenter Government concedes key requirements of the National Water Initiative according to the Pastoralists and Graziers' Association.

PGA water spokesman Dave Wren, a member of the National Farmers Federation water task force, said it was clear from recent discussions on water reform at national level that water trading and other key elements of the process, could not function without security of access and ownership for irrigators, and clear allocation procedures.

"But instead of recognising perpetual access to water as required by the NWI, the WA government has shortchanged irrigators with a 40-year rolling lease, while the Water Corporation and other agencies of government proceed to secure their own entitlements to water before developing adequate regional plans for allocation and operation.

"Water trading and other key elements of the water reform process are currently being reviewed by the Productivity Commission with input from all stakeholders and PGA has registered concerns that the WA government is not meeting its NWI obligations.

"WA is pushing ahead with initiatives for further reform of regional water infrastructures without adequately addressing fundamental access, security and allocation, as well as environmental water issues.

"The result threatens to be yet more uncertainty in the water industry instead of the added security and efficiency the reform process was supposed to create," Mr Wren said.



 

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