The Federal Government has formed a Commonwealth Environmental Water Office as a distinct entity within the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities to improve accountability and stakeholder engagement in environmental water management. 


The formation of the Office was announced as part of its official response to the Standing Committee on Regional Australia’s report Of Drought and Flooding Rains: Inquiry into the impact of the Guide to the Murray Darling Basin Plan in Regional Australia.


The Committee was was tasked with conducting an eight-month long inquiry, ultimately producing the Guide and estimated effects on the Murray Darling Basin Plan.


The Government has further announced the following plans:

  • Develop and publish a water recovery strategy to provide greater transparency and certainty to communities about how the water purchase program will be implemented;
  • Conduct further consultation with industry on how best to integrate water purchases with infrastructure reconfiguration;
  • Focus on targeted purchases in progressing its commitment to Bridging the Gap and is not considering general tenders in the southern connected system for the remainder of 2011 and 2012;


 The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to the delivery of the final plan for the Murray-Darling Basin.