Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 2008
Legislation annual reports 2007-08 (continued)
Operation of the Water Act 2007 (continued)
The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) is a new independent body established by the Australian Government through the Water Act 2007 (Water Act). The sections of the Water Act relevant to its establishment came into effect on 3 March 2008.
The MDBA is responsible for the integrated management of water resources in the Murray-Darling Basin, including developing and implementing the Basin Plan for the long term sustainability of diversions of surface and ground water. The Basin Plan will also include an Environmental Watering Plan, a Water Quality and Salinity Management Plan, and water trading and transfer rules.
At the meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on 26 March 2008, the Commonwealth, the Murray-Darling Basin States and the Australian Capital Territory agreed that the Murray-Darling Basin Commission (MDBC) should be absorbed into the new MDBA. This agreement was formalised at the 3 July 2008 COAG meeting and an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) on Murray-Darling Basin Reform was signed. The IGA established the new governance arrangements for the Murray-Darling Basin and included arrangements for critical human needs, comprehensive and consistent trading arrangements across the Basin, and the transition of the MDBC to the MDBA. The latter process is expected to occur in late 2008.
The MDBA commenced operations, and its work on the Basin Plan, on 8 September 2008. On that date Mr Robert Freeman commenced work as the acting Chair and Chief Executive of the Authority. The four part-time positions as Authority members were advertised in July and August 2008 and are expected to be filled in late 2008. The MDBA was not operational in 2007–08, and employed no staff during that period.
Section 214 of the Water Act requires the MDBA Annual Report to address the following matters:
1. Effectiveness of the Basin Plan
As agreed at the COAG meeting on 26 March 2008, the MDBA will provide the first Basin Plan in early 2011.
2. Directions given during the year by the Minister
The Minister did not issue any directions to the MDBA in 2007–08.
3. Financial statements required by section 49 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997
Financial statements of the MDBA for the period 3 March 2008 to 30 June 2008 follow this report.
4. An Audit report on those statements under section 57 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997
The following independent auditor’s report was provided by the Australian National Audit Office.
This section provides the authority's audited financial statements for 2007–08 and the associated Auditor-General's report, as required under section 57 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.
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