Albanese Government to deliver new National Water Agreement

Dept of Climate Change, Energy, Environment & Water

The Albanese Labor Government is today announcing the Government will deliver an updated National Water Initiative to better prepare Australia for drought.

The agreement between all Australian governments, originally signed 20 years ago, helped drive sustainable water management practices across the country, but much has changed since its inception. The original National Water Initiative was agreed in 2004, prior to some of our country’s most severe droughts and most destructive floods.

Since that first agreement, we’ve learned a lot more about the effects of climate change. It will exacerbate extreme weather which combined with increasing demand for water will challenge our ability to provide reliable water supplies.

The old agreement also does not adequately consider the needs, aspirations, knowledge and deep connection of First Nations communities to the country’s water resources. This agreement will better draw on and recognise their holistic, sustainable approach to water.

Today we’re opening consultation on a new framework and principles to underpin the sustainable management of Australia’s precious water resources.

Consultation will inform the development of a new intergovernmental agreement on water that can meet new challenges to Australia’s water security and water management.

The new national water agreement will continue to support consistency across states and territories, focusing on strengthening the connection between climate science and water planning, alongside a greater consideration of, and influence for, First Nations Peoples in water management.

To have your say on the future of Australia’s water security and the new agreement, visit our website:

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

“The Liberals and Nationals ignored water issues except when it came to sabotaging the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. They cancelled national water minister meetings and abolished the National Water Commission.

“Labor is bringing national leadership back to better managing our precious water resources.

“As water becomes an increasingly contested resource, it is vital we have plans in place to support our communities, industry, and the environment that relies on it.

“A renewed National Water Initiative will provide an extra level of confidence for communities that our precious water resources are efficiently managed in the face of climate change.

“We are also entrenching an ongoing commitment to First Nations voices in water management, ensuring the needs and aspirations of First Nations communities are integral to water planning in our country.”

/Public Release. View in full here.