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Government calls for submissions to national water policy inquiry

The Federal Government has announced a Productivity Commission inquiry into national water policy, with submissions responding to the issues paper now open. 

The announcement comes after Infrastructure Australia highlighted water security as a key focus in its 2020 Infrastructure Priority List, released earlier this year. 

In a joint statement with Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Commission would assess the success of National Water Initiative reforms.

“The National Water Initiative (NWI) is a shared commitment by governments to increase the efficiency of Australia’s water use, provide investment confidence, supply security for rural and urban communities and provide greater certainty for the environment,” he said.

“The Commission will assess whether the water reforms agreed in the NWI, along with any other subsequent reforms adopted by COAG [the Council of Australian Governments], are achieving their intended outcomes.

“The inquiry will examine whether governments have been successful in achieving the objectives, outcomes and timelines of reform ideas proposed under the NWI.”

Frydenberg said a unified response was required to face Australia’s water security challenges, with submissions welcome from all public stakeholders.

“Reform of the water sector has been ongoing over several decades, with the last Productivity Commission review into the NWI completed in December 2017,” he said.

“The Commission has been asked to provide further practical advice on ways in which the NWI could be improved.

“A national, unified response at all levels of government is essential to face the current and future challenges of managing water.

“The Commission will undertake broad public consultation, including with Commonwealth, state and territory governments, consumers, environmental industries and Indigenous stakeholders.” 

Submit feedback to the Productivity Commission’s issues paper here