Two sets of Water Amendment Regulations were made in 2012. Information on the first amending Regulation of 2012 is available on the Water Amendment Regulation 2012 (No.1) page.
The second Regulation made in September 2012 makes four main amendments to the Water Regulations 2008.
Exclusion of Water Resources from Basin water resources
Subsection 4(1) of the Water Act 2007 defines Basin water resources to mean all water resources within, or beneath, the Murray-Darling Basin, other than:
- water resources that are prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of paragraph (a) of the definition, or
- ground water that forms part of the Great Artesian Basin.
The Murray-Darling Basin Boundary (the Basin Boundary) which contains the Basin water resources was originally determined based on States' surface water planning areas. This means some water resources included in the Basin Boundary are on the edge of state water planning areas or partially inside and partially outside the Basin Boundary. This Regulation excludes both surface and ground water resources in the South Australian areas and only ground water in the Victorian area. These areas are minimally connected, if at all, to other Basin water resources.
Excluding these water resources means they no longer form water resources of the Basin and they are not required to be included in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (Basin Plan). South Australia and Victoria will not need to prepare or have accredited water resource plans for these areas under the Basin Plan. These excluded water resources remain subject to state water management regimes.
Maps provided for illustrative purposes only.
Hundreds of Livingston-Carcuma Overlap Area
The original Regulation made in 2008, excluding ground water resources in the Hundreds area used a polygon spatial description. For consistency with the areas excluded in 2012 these Regulations:
- rename the Hundreds of Livingston-Carcuma Overlap Area to 'Area 6', and
- reformat its spatial description to be the same format as these additional exclusions.
These changes do not affect the status of the Hundreds area; it remains excluded from the definition of Basin water resources.
Queensland Risk Assignment Framework
Under the risk assignment framework in Part 2, Division 4 of the Water Act 2007, water access entitlement holders whose allocations are reduced or reliability changed because of the Basin Plan, may qualify for a payment if the statutory criteria are satisfied.
The Commonwealth has agreed to accept certain risk assignment liabilities of Basin States in relation to new knowledge, and from an earlier date than in the National Water Initiative, where the Minister has made a determination that the relevant Basin State has taken on its risk sharing obligations in the State's water management law. Under section 74A of the Water Act 2007 a precondition for making this determination is that the Basin State has applied the framework from 30 June 2009, or a later date specified in the regulations.
Queensland amended its water management legislation to change its risk assignment framework with a view to the Commonwealth accepting Queensland's share of the 'new knowledge' risk. The relevant provisions commenced on 28 October 2011. This Regulation recognises this date for the purposes of making a Ministerial determination under subsection 74A(1).
On 26 November 2012 the Minister made a determination that recognises Queensland's provisions as applying the risk assignment framework.
The effect of this determination is that the Commonwealth accepts Queensland's share of the 'new knowledge' risk that arises from the 28 October 2011.
Transitional Water Resource Plans
This is the second group of Victorian water resource plans which have been prescribed as transitional water resource plans. The first round of plans was prescribed through Schedule 1 of the Water Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 1). This Regulation lists nine additional Victorian water resource plans which deal with salinity management.
The effect of prescribing these transitional water resource plans is to delay the application of those provisions of the Basin Plan which are inconsistent with a transitional water resource plan, in the area where a transitional water resource plan applies, until 30 June 2019. This is required to facilitate a smooth transition from current state water resource planning arrangements to the full implementation of the Basin Plan.
A transitional water resource plan is made up of both the water resource plan and any instruments made under or for the purpose of the plan.
List of instruments made under or for the purposes of these salinity plans, and considered by the Commonwealth to be accredited instruments:
Full details of the Water Amendement Regulation 2012 (No. 2) are available on the the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments website:
Further information about water regulations.