ATSE’s submission to the Productivity Commission is in response to the draft report into National Water Reform. The draft report has addressed many of the issues identified in ATSE’s original submission to the inquiry, this submission builds on the first by identifying areas where the draft report could go further.
The five key areas of water reform addressed in ATSE’s submission are as follows:
- Governance of water reform in Australia: the report acknowledges that governance has been eroded. The Productivity Commission could go further by recommending stronger governance arrangements and a detailed implementation process.
- An Indigenous voice on water: the report has addressed ATSE’s recommendations and takes some significant steps towards recognising an Indigenous voice on water. The draft could include more detail on how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities are consulted in the implementation of new governance arrangements.
- Integrated urban water management: the report reflects the growing need for strategic investment in water infrastructure. It could include a stronger focus on assessing social good in water allocations and ensuring that climate resilience is built in.
- Environmental water management and resilience: the report takes the important step of recognising climate change in water policy. It could go further by recommending stronger action on climate change.
- Water research and development: the report acknowledges the importance of water research and development, which ATSE supports. It should also include clear recommendations to direct funding and articulate the relationship between decision-making and technology (innovation). For example, technology that enables water measurement and how this technology is used in planning, which is proposed as a key mechanism for climate resilience.