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Best practice approaches to water law and management in a developed country context: examining international policies and principles within a federal framework
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 13:50 authored by Maureen Papas
Australia has a federal system of government and the Australian constitution accorded primary responsibility for water and environmental management with state governments. However, Australia is a country with a large agricultural sector and the limits of water resources are being reached in the nation’s river basins. Responsibility for water resources management is predominantly vested in state governments generating challenges in harmonising management and resolving issues. More recently, the federal government introduced the Water Act 2007 to regulate the Murray Darling river system in an attempt to address the continuing decline of water resources in the Murray Darling Basin. The Commonwealth government has therefore taken a more proactive role in water law and governance in relation to one river system in Australia. The health of the river and the life that it sustains are essential to the wellbeing of its people. However, more broadly water resources remain degraded and over-allocated in this country and therefore identification of best practice law and governance remains of critical importance. This thesis considers how Australia may move forward in this regard through an examination of the historical context, as well as looking to the lessons that may be learned from multilevel governance, the experience of the European Union (EU) and its Water Framework Directive (WFD), as well as international law.