Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission

Ministerial Statement

The Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission was established by His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, Governor of South Australia, on 23 January 2018 to investigate the operations and effectiveness of the Murray-Darling Basin system.

The Marshall Liberal government is working closely with Mr Bret Walker SC on progressing the royal commission, including issuing an explanatory memorandum to accompany the terms of reference.

The government, following discussions with Mr Walker, has determined that an amendment to the Royal Commission Act 1917 to clarify the extraterritorial reach of the royal commission will not be progressed. The commissioner is currently finalising commissions, undertaking community consultation and continuing his important work under the terms of reference.

The commissioner has confirmed with the government that he does not intend to repeat the work of other agencies that are currently investigating and prosecuting in respect of matters of illegal take, compliance and enforcement. Ensuring this royal commission is carried out in line with the terms of reference is of the utmost importance to this government.

This government is committed to seeing strong environmental, economic and social outcomes for the River Murray and its communities and looks forward to considering the commission's findings and recommendations in due course.

Should the commissioner raise with me concerns that he cannot properly fulfil the terms of reference without legislative change, I will expeditiously return to parliament with an appropriate action to ensure any deficiencies can be rectified.

For members interested, the Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission Issues Paper No. 2, issued by Mr Walker, is located at https://mdbrcsa.govcms.gov.au/sites/g/files/net3846/f/issues-paper-round_2-mdbrc.pdf?v=1525066265. Perhaps a copy could go to the member for Cheltenham, who, of course, has an interest in this matter.