The Victorian Government is undertaking a comprehensive review of Victoria’s water laws to deliver a streamlined and effective legislative framework for water management and use in Victoria. In February 2014, Victorians were given the opportunity to comment on proposed changes to the state’s water laws. Victoria has two main Acts that govern the management and use of water – the Water Act 1989 and the Water Industry Act 1994. A new Water Bill Exposure Draft (the Exposure Draft) proposes to bring these Acts into a single new streamlined Water Act. The Exposure Draft was prepared for public exposure and comment.
For further information of the proposed changes, click here.
The Exposure Draft aims to retain the best elements of the past two decades of water reform, clarifying or refining them where required, and removing or adding other elements in line with contemporary water and legislative practice and stakeholder feedback.
The Victorian IAH Branch has reviewed the Exposure Draft and provided comment, which can be accessed here.
Overall, the Victorian IAH review considered the proposed changes to be positive. However, we expressed several concerns and made recommendations regarding the facilitation of Managed Aquifer Recharge, the Precautionary Principle and its potential to unnecessarily lock up water resources, Licensing of Stock and Domestic bores and Forest Plantations, Dewatering, as well as Hydrogeological Definitions.