The Way forward: are further changes to Australian water governance inevitable?

Maureen Papas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The management of water resources is a very complex process. This is especially true in Australia, where water availability is highly variable and rivers are shared across multiple States and Territories. Under Australia's federal system, water challenges have been progressively dealt with through political institutions that require the cooperation of both federal and State governments. The current Australian Government has indicated a strong preference for limiting the role of the federal government and boosting that of the States, as a central thrust of the Terms of Reference for the proposed White Paper on the Reform of the Federation. This article argues that, while water is a minor focus of the White Paper, the reforms to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) and the National Water Commission, that are underway independent of the White Paper, are closely connected, since much of the debate concerning the role of the Commonwealth in water matters is occurring more explicitly in the context of those reforms. The article reviews the reforms and comments on how the weakening of one level of government can undermine effective governance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-90
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental and Planning Law Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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