Submission to the 2014 Triennial Assessment of water reform progress in Australia

Dear Mr Radcliffe,

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission to the 2014 Triennial Assessment of water reform progress in Australia. The MCA appreciates the National Water Commission’s commitment to engaging with the minerals industry among other stakeholders.

As you are aware, the MCA represents over 93 per cent of minerals production in Australia. The MCA’s strategic objective is to advocate public policy and operational practice for a world class industry that is safe, profitable, innovative, environmentally responsible and attuned to community needs and expectations.

MCA member companies are signatories to Enduring Value – the Australian Minerals Industry Framework for Sustainable Development and have a long standing commitment to the effective and responsible management of Australia’s water resources.

The minerals industry remains a supporter of the principles within the 2004 Intergovernmental Agreement on a National Water Initiative (NWI). While progress has been made in recent years in the integration of the mining industry under the NWI, there remain several issues which require a continued focus, these include:

  1. Clarity around the application of Clause 34 of the NWI
  2. The development of ‘fit for purpose’ water planning, access and entitlement arrangements.
  3. Regulatory efficiency - the reconciliation of water planning regimes with other regulatory frameworks.
  4. Best practice pricing and its role in effectively operating markets.
  5. Rationalising water information requirements for the minerals industry.

Furthermore, the MCA considers there are a number of emerging issues which will require further consideration. These include the intersection of the NWI with evolving national policy priorities (land use, food and energy security and population growth etc), increasing sector specific regulation, and linkages with national infrastructure planning.

These above matters are discussed in detail in the attached submission.

The MCA would welcome any further opportunity to provide input into the NWI Triennial Assessment. Should you have any questions regarding this submission, please do not hesitate to contact Chris McCombe, Assistant Director – Environmental Policy on 02 6233 0627 who has carriage of this matter in the MCA Secretariat.

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