Rethinking Australian Water Law and Governance: Successes, Challenges and Future Directions
Environmental and Planning Law Journal, Volume 33, No 4, pp. 275-283 (2016)
Posted: 30 May 2018
Date Written: August 1, 2016
Australia has been a world leader in water law and governance reform. However, after 20 years of progress, water is quickly slipping from the national agenda. Despite many remaining implementation challenges and drought risks, there has been little detailed intergovernmental direction about the “next steps” in Australia’s water strategy. At this critical juncture, this Special Issue brings together leading water law and governance scholars and practitioners to contribute new lines of vision to Australian water governance as we move forward into the 21st century. This introductory article sets the scene for the Special Issue by outlining the key building blocks of Australia’s water governance system, before laying out the key questions explored in the subsequent eight articles, namely: How far has Australia come with the National Water Initiative? Is the current governance system a sufficient model capable of broader application to meet future water challenges and a sustainable future? And what fundamental reforms and changes might be required and what other credible water governance and policy alternatives might be available? The article concludes by summarising and synthesising the issues around four key policy parameters, namely: markets; participation; groundwater and policy mixes; and developing northern Australia.
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