Transparency and Accountability

Progress on actions to September 2019.

Action 1.1 and VIC 1.1: Review internal governance arrangements for non-urban water management

Completed

Water Corporations in Victoria are responsible for administering water entitlements, including metering water use and managing compliance and enforcement. There are several instruments and arrangements in place that already promote and support good compliance and enforcement practices. These include Statements of Obligations, Corporate plan guidelines and Letters of Expectations, Water Corporations compliance and enforcement strategies, guidelines and protocols, and comprehensive board induction materials for incoming board directors.

Victoria has reviewed these governance instruments and arrangements to ensure that Victoria’s strong compliance culture is maintained. The review commenced in August 2018 and was completed in December 2018.

The review confirmed that Victoria has good governance arrangements in place, and a high level of expertise and capacity in Water Corporations to support a strong culture of compliance and enforcement.

While there are instruments and arrangements in place that support good compliance and enforcement practices, there are opportunities to strengthen these instruments and arrangements to ensure their optimum application. The review highlighted 9 recommendations that will focus on (1) strengthening governance instruments, and (2) increase transparency of Victoria’s compliance and enforcement obligations.

The Water Corporations were consulted throughout the process and are generally supportive of the review’s findings and recommendations.

Action 1.2a: Publish reporting framework for identified significant water management decisions involving discretion and commence reporting in accordance with this framework

Completed

Victoria has a comprehensive management framework to guide judgement or discretion, and numerous checks and balances to ensure accountability. These checks include transparency measures such as publishing comprehensive annual water accounts, providing up to date market information, performance reporting by water corporations, and reporting to the MDBA on Basin Plan implementation. Information about water management decisions are readily and publicly available.

Victoria’s response to Action 1.2a focuses on improving accessibility and making this information easier to discover. Download Compact action 1.2a (PDF, 508.0 KB)

Action 1.2b: Publish a work program to improve the transparency of information about water take entitlements

Completed

Marsden Jacob Associates (MJA) was engaged to deliver an independent assessment of Victoria’s water information framework against the Compact requirements. MJA completed its assessment in June 2019.

The work program (PDF, 578.8 KB) highlights that the level of publicly available information about water resource management in Victoria is already largely aligned with the intent of the Compact. Information available includes information about water trade, water take under entitlements, flows and rules in unregulated rivers, surface water and groundwater systems. This information can be easily accessed by the public on the websites of the Department and Victoria’s water corporations.

Victoria’s water information will be improved by providing information on location of water take (e.g. pumps, bores, meters) in all surface and groundwater systems (requirement (ii)) online.

The Victorian Government is committed to increasing water market transparency and information sharing that will improve the relevance and accessibility of information for the public and ensure water market information and systems continue to support effective markets.

Action 1.2c, VIC 2.6 and VIC 2.7: Publicly report on compliance and enforcement actions by location annually

Completed

Victoria reports annually on state-wide non-urban water compliance and enforcement activities.

The report  on non-urban water compliance and enforcement activities (PDF, 699.7 KB) in Northern Victoria was completed using a template provided by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to improve consistency of reporting between the MDBA and Basin states.

Action 1.3: Scope out a proposal for a Basin-wide system to provide publicly accessible, real time advice on environmental water

Led by the Federal Department of Agriculture and the MDBA.

Action 1.4: Review joint governments’ governance arrangements in the Basin to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of current arrangements

Led by the Basin Officials Committee.

VIC 1.2: Victoria will continue to maintain a public Water Register website that provides detailed information on entitlements, water availability and use and water trading. Victoria also produces annual accounts, which provide comprehensive statements of entitlements and usage for surface and groundwater catchments in Victoria.

Completed

The Victorian Water Register and Water Accounts are publicly available.

Page last updated: 23/09/19