Minister Penny Wong's announcement yesterday that the Commonwealth Government will invest $56 million in a national water market system demonstrates the Federal and State Governments' commitment to making water markets work more effectively across Australia.
The new National Water Market System will involve the creation of a national portal and a new Common Registry System for implementation in NSW, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania, the Northern Territory and ACT. The existing water registry systems in Victoria and Queensland will also be enhanced as part of this initiative.
The national portal will be operate in real time, providing water users with up to date water market information to enable users to make faster and more efficient transactions. The new national market information service will contain information about water licences and seasonal allocations. How the portal will be developed and maintained is not yet publicly available. Accessibility, reliability and accuracy will be crucial to ensuring its success.
The details of the Common Registry System have not yet been released but it is clear that water registers and functions will continue to be the responsibility of the States and Territories. The development of the Common Registry System is in line with the proposal put forward by the National Water Commission of moving beyond state registers to a common national registry system to enhance the compatibility across jurisdictions.
The National Water Market System has been endorsed by the States and Territories which provides the jurisdictional support required to implement a national water system. The completion date for the national portal, the first step in the National Water Market System, is set for April 2010 giving the Governments a six month opportunity to create a much needed platform for fostering broader and deeper water trading across the country.