The Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council
The Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council is the primary body responsible for providing the policy and direction needed to implement the Murray-Darling Basin Initiative. The Ministerial Council was established at a meeting of government ministers in Adelaide in 1985 and its operation is specified in the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement.
The Ministerial Council comprises the Ministers responsible for land, water and environmental resources within the Contracting Governments (ie the governments of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and the Commonwealth). Up to three Ministers from each government may sit on the Council. The Australian Capital Territory participates in the Initiative via a memorandum of understanding. The memorandum allows the ACT to take part in planning and management of Basin environmental resources, but not to be involved in water management of the River Murray system. The memorandum provides for an ACT Government minister to be a non-voting member of the Ministerial Council. The chairperson of the Community Advisory Committee also attends all Council meetings.
The Ministerial Council's main functions, specified in clause 9 the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement, are:
Being a political forum, the Ministerial Council has the power to make decisions for the Basin as a whole. Resolutions of the Council require a unanimous vote. This means that decisions taken by the Council represent a consensus of governmental opinion and policy across the Basin. The Council meets at least once per annum.
Composition of the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory