Northern Basin Commissioner

The government is creating a new position of Inspector–General of Murray–Darling Basin Water Resources. This role will help deliver the Murray–Darling Basin Plan. It will improve transparency, accountability and community confidence.

The government has appointed Mick Keelty AO as Interim Inspector–General from 1 October 2019pending new legislation under the Water Act 2007 to create a permanent position.

The Northern Basin Commissioner role was subsumed by the Interim Inspector–General role from 1 October 2019.

Creating the Inspector–General role reflects the success of the Northern Basin Commissioner role, which has contributed to greater confidence in compliance and enforcement in the northern Basin.

As part of a wider package of initiatives to support implementation of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan, the Australian Government appointed Mr Mick Keelty, AO APM, as the independent Northern Basin Commissioner, for a three-year term.

Mr Keelty commenced in the role of Commissioner on 11 September 2018.

Focus of the role

The Northern Basin Commissioner focused on overseeing implementation of the Northern Basin Review recommendations. The Commissioner also monitored, audited and reported annually on:

  • implementing water-use compliance measures
  • achieving Basin Plan environmental outcomes in the northern Basin
  • scientific and technical information that will increase our understanding of northern Basin environmental needs
  • environmental water activities in the northern Basin, including the Gwydir Wetlands, Macquarie Marshes and Narran Lakes
  • involving Indigenous communities in managing, planning and delivering water resources.


The Commissioner was based in our Brisbane office.


The Commissioner:

  • reported to the Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management
  • consulted with the Minister for the Environment.
  • will table an annual progress report to the Minister in the Australian Parliament

More information

Learn more about the Murray–Darling Basin Plan

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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