Inspector-General of Water Compliance welcomes independent review

Inspector-General of Water Compliance welcomes independent review

Acting Inspector-General of Water Compliance, Daniel Blacker, has welcomed today’s announcement by the Minister for the Environment and Water, The Honourable Tanya Plibersek, that an independent review into the Inspector-General of Water Compliance (IGWC) will commence soon.

The independent review will be led by former chairman of the Productivity Commission Mr Peter Harris AO, and will ensure the Inspector-General has the relevant powers to carry out its functions.

“Our independence is crucial to ensuring Murray-Darling Basin resources are being managed transparently and with a high level of accountability. It’s why I’m pleased to see that this review will be conducted at arm’s length, to uphold a greater level of independence,” said Mr Blacker.

The Inspector-General of Water Compliance was officially established in August 2021, and ensures various government bodies, water managers and users in the Murray-Darling Basin comply with their obligations under the Water Act 2007 and Basin Plan 2012. It is crucial to ensuring the integrity of water management in the Basin, which is an area of significant economic, social, environmental and cultural importance.

“This review is a great opportunity to see where we started, and how far we’ve come. We have conducted audits, reviews and investigations as well as meeting extensively with stakeholders across the basin since our establishment. This independent review will ensure we have what we need to continue doing our job properly, and to a standard the community expects and deserves,” said Mr Blacker.

The IGWC looks forward to working with Mr Harris in the review by drawing on the IGWC’s practical experience since being established. Integrity has become a greater focus for the community in the last two years and the Inspector-General's oversight role has grown to be a key institution building community trust and confidence.

“We want to highlight the things that have worked for us, and some of the challenges we’ve faced in delivering strong oversight of the performance of Commonwealth and state agencies, and in ensuring water managers and users comply with relevant legislation,” said Mr Blacker.

The review will engage with relevant stakeholders and provide recommendations to the Government on any changes required to ensure the IGWC can deliver effectively on the legislative functions set out under the Water Act 2007 including oversight, compliance and engagement with the Australian public on the management of Basin water resources. 

The final report will be handed to the Government by January 2024.

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