Water Week

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CEWH must operate to meet environmental objectives: may sell only water not required by a watering plan

Posted by waterweek on 4 October 2007

Limits are placed on the Commonwealth Environmental Water’s ability to sell water, according to advice prepared by the Department of Parliamentary Service released on 14 August 2007. CEWH not a profit making enterprise: Clause 106 of the Water Bill 2007 limits the CEWH’s right to sell water during a water accounting period. It may sell only water which is not required by a watering plan or in accordance with the environmental watering schedule. The reason for imposing the limitation is to ensure that the CEWH operates to meet environmental objectives rather than as a profit making enterprise.

CEWH to be independent: The limitation will not apply in circumstances where proceeds from any sale can be used by the CEWH to acquire other water or water holdings which will better protect or restore environmental assets. The Minister and Secretary are not permitted to give direction to the CEWH in the exercise of the functions which are set out in subclauses 105(2)(a) – (c). This limitation, set out in clause 107, is intended to safeguard the independence of the CEWH in relation to key trading decisions.

Operating rules establish framework: However, clause 109 allows the Minister to make operating rules by legislative instrument, about those same matters. According to the Explanatory Memorandum, the operating rules will establish a general framework within which the CEWH operates, rather than providing specific direction on individual entitlements or contracts. Clause 111 establishes the Environmental Water Holdings Special Account which is to be used for expenses incurred by the CEWH in undertaking its functions.

Reference: Bill McCormick, Science, Technology, Environment, and Resources Section, Water Bill 2007 – Angus Martyn and Paula Pyburne Law and Bills Digest Section, Parliamentary Library Information – analysis and advice for the Parliament, Parliament of Australia Department of Parliamentary Service, 14 August 2007, no. 30, 2007-08, ISSN 1328-8091.

Erisk Net, 16/8/2007

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