Water Amendment (Restoring Our Rivers) Bill 2023
This submission to the Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications in response to the Water Amendment (Restoring Our Rivers) Bill 2023, was prepared by the Australian Environment and Planning Group of the Law Council of Australia’s Legal Practice Section.
1. The Legal Practice Section strongly supports action to address issues associated with the protection, management, and operation of the Murray Darling Basin (MDB) and the protection of its environmental Indigenous cultural heritage values.
2. The Bill amends the Water Act 2007 (the Act), which is:
... an Act to make provision for the management of the water resources of the Murray-Darling Basin, and to make provision for other matters of national interest in relation to water and water information, and for related purposes.
3. The Act’s objects include protecting the MDB’s ecological values and ecosystem services, ensuring the return to environmentally sustainable levels of water extraction and, subject to these two objects, maximising the net economic returns from the use of the MDB’s resources. Rebalancing consumptive waters uses and environment needs is a key objective of the Act.