Related reform - water

The Council of Australian Governments adopted a strategic water reform framework on 25 February 1994, which they incorporated in the National Competition Policy agreements. The main objectives of the strategic framework were to establish an efficient and sustainable water industry, and to arrest widespread natural resource degradation partly caused by water use. The strategic framework covered pricing, the appraisal of investment in rural water schemes, the specification of, and trading in, water entitlements, resource management (including recognising the environment as a user of water via formal allocations), institutional reform and improved public consultation.

The Council of Australian Governments originally envisaged that the strategic water reform framework would be implemented by 2001. Subsequently it extended the implementation timeframe to 2005.

Water reform implementation progress was a significant element in several of the National Competition Council’s reform progress (annual, deferred and supplementary) assessments, including the National Competition Council’s last water reform assessment undertaken in 2004.

On 25 June 2004 the Council of Australian Governments reached the Intergovernmental Agreement on a National Water Initiative, which developed and extended the original water reform strategic framework. Under the National Water Initiative, the Council of Australian Governments created a new body, the National Water Commission, to oversee implementation of the reform program. The National Water Commission conducted the final (2005) assessment of water reform progress under the National Competition Policy.

Further information on the development and content of the intergovernmental strategic water reform framework can be obtained from Council of Australian Governments communiqués at

Further information on water reform can be obtained from the website of the National Water Commission at

Key water reform documents on this site

  • Agreement to Implement the National Competition Policy and Related Reforms (Attachment)
  • Intergovernmental water reform strategic framework (reproduced in National Competition Council Compendium of Agreements, second edition 1998)
  • Governments’ annual National Competition Policy reports
  • National Competition Council progress assessment reports (annual, supplementary and deferred assessments to 2004)
  • National Water Commission progress assessment report, 2005 National Competition Policy assessment