Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement

The Lake Eyre Basin is of conservation significance on a world scale. It is one of the last water catchments around the globe to flow without interruption. Further, the Basin has seen less disturbance since European settlement than other parts of Australia and most of its ecosystems are in good health.

The Basin and its waterways are still subject to threats from certain land-uses, pest plants and animals, and development. In response, communities and governments have committed to collaborative, cross-border management. The aim is to maintain its values into the future while supporting economic activity.

Commitment to cross-border collaboration is embodied in the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement. It was established between the Australian, Queensland and South Australian governments in 2000. The Northern Territory subsequently signed the Agreement in 2004.

The purpose of the Agreement is to “provide for the development or adoption, and implementation of policies and strategies concerning water and related natural resources in the Lake Eyre Basin Agreement Area to avoid or eliminate so far as reasonably practicable adverse cross-border impacts.”

The Agreement established the Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum, chaired by the Commonwealth Minister for Water and including ministers from Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

A Community Advisory Committee and Scientific Advisory Panel have also been established to provide advice to the Ministerial Forum.

Six policies have been developed to support the Agreement: River Flows Policy; Water Quality Policy; Water and Related Natural Resources Policy; Existing Entitlements and Water Resource Development Policy; Research and Monitoring Policy; and a Whole-of-Basin Approach Policy.

First review of the agreement

A review of the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement is mandated every five years. The first review – Review of the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement – assessed the extent to which the objectives set out in the Agreement were achieved.

Second review of the agreement

On 7 September 2018 the Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum agreed to release the second review into the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement.

The Second Review of the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement looks at how well the Agreement is serving the Lake Eyre Basin and its communities. The Review also looks at how well the Agreement is working and considers changes that could make it more effective.

The Review was undertaken by an independent consultant, with input from the Basin governments and community.

From 23 March 2018 to 2 May 2018, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources conducted a public consultation on the Second Review of the Agreement. We received 53 submissions during the consultation process. The independent consultant considered these submissions in developing the final Review report.

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Last reviewed: 19 October 2020
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