The prioritization of future reform areas should reflect the Commission`s view on areas where further efforts are needed to improve economic, social and environmental outcomes, maintain progress to date or for which the results of future water resource developments are improved. The review of the reform of Australia`s water sector will meet the legal requirement for the second of the Commission`s three-year assessments of progress in achieving the NNI objectives and results, which are required in Section 88 of the Water Act 2007, and these tasks should be read in conjunction with the Act. The survey should assess progress in achieving the NIN`s objectives and results. Since the NWI was agreed in 2004, the scope of the investigation is broader than that provided by law. The inquiry should continue to examine whether the water reforms agreed in the NWI, as well as all subsequent COAG reforms, are achieving their objectives. Water sector reform has been underway for several decades, reflecting the fundamental importance of water to our economy and the considerable challenges associated with managing a common natural resource, often affected by periods of scarcity. A national approach to water reform began in 1994 with the pioneering framework for COAG water reform and continued with subsequent initiatives such as the NWI (2004), the Water Act 2007 (Cwth) and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (November 2012). In order to increase transparency, the Commission should also assess advances in water planning across Australia to improve clarity on complex and often misunderstood water planning processes in different legal systems. The focus should be on political and legislative processes relating to water planning in all areas of legislation, rather than adopting detailed application procedures on the ground.
The Commission should work to identify areas where improvements are needed. The Commission should consider the reporting format of this assessment in order to clearly communicate its results to a broad audience, including stakeholders wishing to monitor the progress of water planning in their region. The Commission should make recommendations on what the parties can do to better achieve the NFN`s objectives and results, as well as recommendations on future reform priorities. In its recommendations, the Commission should provide concrete and practical advice on how to improve IMIE, including specific advice to move governments forward in their commitment to renew the IMIE. The Council of Australian Governments had originally anticipated that the framework for strategic water reform would have to be implemented by 2001. It then extended the implementation period until 2005. State and territorial governments are the primary responsibility for managing water resources in their legal systems. The Commonwealth has played a role in financing the acceleration of reform, the provision of management and coordination and the management of certain cross-border resources, to the extent agreed by the relevant jurisdictions. Progress in implementing water reform has been a key component of the National Competition Council`s progress on reforms (annual, deferred and complementary assessments), including the national competition council`s last assessment of water reform in 2004. On June 25, 2004, the Council of Australian Governments reached the Intergovernmental Agreement on a National Water Initiative, which developed and expanded the initial policy framework for water reform. As part of the National Water Initiative, the Council of Australian Governments has created a new body, the National Water Commission, to implement the reform agenda.