Water resources in the Northern Territory will be more closely monitored with the introduction of the Water Legislation Amendment Bill 2018, which will ensure that the mining and energy sectors are no longer excluded from the need for water licenses.

The State Government recognises the vital contribution that the mining and energy sectors make to the Northern Territory economy and the importance of ensuring that there is strong public confidence in these industries; however, it also acknowledges the importance of getting the balance right to ensure state water resources are sustainable into the future.

Northern Territory Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, Eva Lawler, introduced the Water Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 in the Legislative Assembly to bring access to, and use of, water by the mining and petroleum industries into line with all other industries operating in the Northern Territory.

“Water is a precious resource and we need to manage it responsibly to ensure its sustainability,” Ms Lawler said.

“We live in a diversified economy and there is significant competition for the use of water, and water use by mining and petroleum activities need to be regulated through the Water Act.”

Currently mining and petroleum industries do not need to apply for water licenses; however, under the proposed new amendments, that exclusion will be removed.

In addition, offences and penalties under the Act will be updated to introduce an infringement notice scheme that will enable breaches to be enforced independently of the courts.

The Water Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 also seeks to increase current financial penalties for breaches of the Water Act.

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