National Water Commission

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National Water Commission
National Water Commission in Northbourne Avenue, Turner.jpg
National Water Commission building
Statutory authority overview
Jurisdiction Commonwealth of Australia
Headquarters Turner, Australian Capital Territory
Motto Australia's independent voice on national water issues
Employees 48
Minister responsible Tony Burke, Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Statutory authority executives Chairperson, Karlene Maywald
CEO, James Cameron
Parent department Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Key document National Water Commission Act 2004

The National Water Commission (NWC) is an independent statutory authority within the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities portfolio in Australia.

It provides independent, evidence-based advice to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and the Australian Government on national water issues.

The Commission was established under the National Water Commission Act 2004[1] to implement the National Water Initiative and reform the broader national water agenda.[2]

The Act was amended in June 2012 following an independent COAG Review of the Commission.

Under the amended Act, the Commission has three core ongoing functions: monitoring, audit, and assessment. It is also empowered to undertake broader activities that promote national water reform objectives. The Commission has additional functions under other Commonwealth acts and regulations:

  • The Water Act 2007 assigned an ongoing function to audit the effectiveness of the implementation of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan and associated water resource plans. The Commission is required to conduct its first audit by March 2013 and subsequently no later than five years from the conduct of the first audit.
  • In 2011, the Commission was delegated additional functions under the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Regulations 2011.

The Commission's structure[edit]

The current CEO of the NWC is James Cameron who reports directly to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities and is accountable to him for the effective and efficient operation of the Commission. The chair of the NWC is Karlene Maywald, who is also a commissioner. These positions were formally occupied by Ken Matthews and Chloe Munro. National Water Commission. Four Commissioners currently make up the Commission, all of whom are appointed by the Australian Government for terms of up to three years. The Chair is nominated by the Australian Government and is appointed in consultation with the other parties to the NWI (the state and territory governments). Two Commissioners are nominated by the Australian Government, and two by the states and territories. Commissioners are not representatives of any jurisdiction or industry sector.

The role of the commissioners is to provide advice on the strategic policy framework for the Commission, to provide guidance on major reports or other advice to the minister or to COAG and to promote the role of the Commission and the NWI reforms.[3]

The Commission's past[edit]

One key function that the Commission provided was to advise the Prime Minister on expenditure of the Australian Government Water Fund between 2004 and 2010.[4] This included three programs: Water Smart Australia; Raising National Water Standards Program and Australian Water Fund Communities. The Commission managed more than 170 projects under the Raising National Water Standards Program.[5] The Raising National Water Standards Program facilitated investment in Australia's ability to measure, monitor and manage its water resources.[4]

The Commission also has an assessment role for National Partnership Payments. This task is undertaken under delegation from the COAG Reform Council. Under the Water Act 2007, the Commission has a new, ongoing function to audit the effectiveness of implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and associated water resource plans.

The National Water Commission published a report on the future need for desalination technologies to play a role in securing Australia’s water supplies.[6]

The Commission also publishes biennial assessments of progress in implementation of the National Water Initiative, the latest being in October 2011. The 2011 assessment makes 12 major recommendations to COAG to reinvigorate the water reform agenda and fully deliver its economic, environmental and social benefits.

Under the amended National Water Commission Act, the Commission will now perform triennial assessments of progress, the first of which is due in 2014.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Role and functions. National Water Commission.
  3. ^ Commissioners. National Water Commission.
  4. ^ a b Pigram, John J. (2007). Australia's Water Resources: From use to management. Collingwood, Victoria: CSIRO Publishing. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-643-09442-0. 
  5. ^ NWC Annual Report 2009-2010. National Water Commission.
  6. ^ Emerging trends in desalination: A review. Waterlines report No 9 - October 2008.

External links[edit]