Friday, March 1, 2024

New era for Murray-Darling management

Today marks the first day of the independent Office of Inspector General of Water Compliance for the Murray–Darling Basin, with the official appointment of Troy Grant to the statutory role.

Minister for Resources and Water, Keith Pitt said Mr Grant (pictured) was already deeply familiar with the issues and challenges across the Basin through his role as interim Inspector General and was firmly focused on getting on with the job.

“Mr Grant was selected for the role because of his strong leadership, strategic capability, and integrity following a 30-year career of public service in government, law enforcement, emergency services and social justice, including extensive public policy and regulatory experience,” Minister Pitt said.

“Mr Grant, as the Inspector General, will provide greater confidence to Basin communities and all Australians that the rules are fit for purpose and are being applied consistently.

“That’s because the Inspector General will monitor Commonwealth and Basin state agencies in relation to their obligations in managing Basin water resources to make sure no one is marking their own homework.

”He has a role in creating more consistent standards and guidelines across jurisdictions and has new avenues around water theft and illegal water trade open to him when states can’t or won’t take action.

An aerial view of the Murray River and the Darling River (foreground) in 2019.

“Importantly the office now has the compliance and enforcement powers previously held by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority when it comes to operation of the Water Act, Basin Plan and Water Resource Plans.

“In lie with the Office’s powers and his commitment to transparency Mr Grant is looking forward to releasing his workplan and priorities in the coming days.”

Mr Grant said the Murray–Darling Basin was hugely important to the nation, producing $24 billion worth of food and fibre and generating $8 billion through tourism annually.

“As the first statutory Inspector General I want to assure all Australians that the new compliance arrangements will ensure the highest standards of accountability in the national interest for all involved in the use and management of our precious water resources,” Mr Grant said.

“The Office of the Inspector-General of Water Compliance has 33 staff located across the Basin – including field officers in five regional locations.

“The priority for my field officers is to build relationships with communities so they can effectively engage with the people who live and work in their area.

“I’m determined to make sure that the Office of the Inspector General is open and responsive to community needs and that we’re also clear about our focus, independent in our actions and practical in delivery of enhanced compliance systems.”

The Inspector General is a four-year appointment, commencing today.

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