Murray-Darling Inspector one year on - still no statute, still no powers

01 August 2020

Today is the one-year anniversary of the Morrison Government’s announcement that it would establish an Inspector-General for the Murray-Darling Basin.

On 1 August 2019 the then Water Minister issued a media release announcing the establishment of the position.

“The new statutory position will have powers across the basin under The Water Act 2007,” then Minister the Hon David Littleproud said in the release. 

“The Inspector-General will hold the MDBA, Commonwealth and all states to account, provide independent assurance to the community around the plan’s implementation and ensure the laws governing water use are followed. 

“The Inspector-General will be able to refer issues to the Commonwealth Integrity Commission once it is established,” he said.

But a year on the Inspector-General position is still interim. It is not a statutory position. It does not have powers across the Basin. And there is no Commonwealth Integrity Commission for it to refer issues to.

This is just another example of the Morrison Government being big on announcements but poor on delivery.

The anniversary comes days after the ACCC interim water markets report found that water markets are riddled with problems including a lack of trust. And it comes very shortly after an ANAO report slammed the Morrison Government over water procurement probity and value in the Basin.