The Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications will conduct an inquiry into amendments to the National Water Commission Act 2004 that will continue the National Water Commission (NWC) as an independent statutory body beyond its current sunset date of 30 June 2012.

 

The Bill implements the Government’s response to the independent Review of the NWC and refocusses the NWC’s role to oversight and assessment of national water reforms (primarily the National Water Initiative (NWI) and Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) reforms).

 

The independent Review of the NWC was commissioned by the Commonwealth Government on behalf of the Council of Australian Governments, in accordance with the NWI and section 38 of the NWC Act. The Review concluded that the NWC should continue, without sunset, for the duration of the NWI.

 

With the ending of all programs funded from the Australian Water Fund (AWF), the Bill closes the AWF Account and the NWC’s specific ability to administer any AWF funds, but will enable the NWC to administer Australian Government funding programs that may be allocated to it in the future.

 

The Bill will reduce the number of NWC Commissioners (including the Chair) from seven to five, due to the NWC’s refocused functions.

 

Submissions are required by 10 April 2012. The reporting date is 01 May 2012.

 

More information about the inquiry is here.