Former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty has been appointed to the role of Northern Basin Commissioner, to oversee compliance in the irrigation sector under the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
The Northern Basin Commissioner role was created an element of an agreement Labor made with the Federal Government in May.
The deal opposition secured concessions in return for Labor's support to block the Greens controversial Sustainable Diversion Limit disallowance motion.
Water Minister David Littleproud said Mr Keelty’s 35 years experince in the AFP made him “exaclty the leader we need in the Northern Basin”.
“Mick Keelty spent decades keeping Australians safe and now he’ll be keeping precious water safe,” Minister Littleproud said.
“No honest user has anything to fear from compliance.
“He will help give communities up and down the basin confidence in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.”
National Irrigators chief executive Steve Whan said Mr Keelty’ was an “outstanding” choice.
“The commissioner has a big job, but he is, in many ways, the final piece in a jigsaw puzzle of significant action that has taken place over the past twelve months,” Mr Whan said.
“We have seen huge reform at State and Federal level on compliance, including a big increase in resources for compliance. That is vital for Commissioner Keelty’s success, because it is the State Governments who will have the boots on the ground, forming the basis of a strong compliance regime.”
Cotton Australia chief executive Adam Kay welcomed the announcement.
“The appointment of Mr Keelty to the role of Northern Basin Commissioner is an important step in ensuring water compliance in the Northern Basin is improved.”