By Tanya Plibersek

28 June 2024



Friday 28 June 2024

Australia’s Water Ministers meet for first time in a decade

Australia’s Water Ministers have met for the first time in a decade to renew their commitment to work together to protect and secure the country’s water resources.

Ministers progressed an updated National Water Agreement to better prepare Australia for drought, safeguard scarce water resources from climate change, and elevate First Nations voices in water management.

Ministers recognised that the original agreement, signed 20 years ago, does not reflect new and emerging challenges to water security, safety and supply. This includes the increased frequency of severe droughts and destructive floods.

It was acknowledged that national water planning should get the balance right across states and territories, be informed by the latest climate science, and better reflect the values and interests of First Nations peoples.

The Commonwealth has released the communique for today’s Water Ministerial Council Meeting, which noted updated outcomes and objectives of the National Water Agreement.

The Murray−Darling Basin Ministerial Council Meeting also takes place today. The Albanese Labor Government is on track to return 450 gigalitres of water to the environment by 2027 and looks forward to continuing the conversation with jurisdictions on the full delivery of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek MP:

“Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth, and it is encouraging to see that Australia’s Water Ministers are unified in their goal to secure our scarce water resources.

“Today, Australia’s Water Ministers progressed an updated National Water Agreement to better safeguard water resources from the impacts of drought and climate change.

“States and territories must continue to work together to agree on a meaningful, balanced and transparent path forward.

“We are already working collaboratively with jurisdictions on world-leading initiatives to better manage our water, including the Murray-Darling Basin - our most critical river system.

“I look forward to continuing to work with my ministerial colleagues on Australian water reform.”