The majority voted in favour of amendments (4) to (6), which means they will now become part of the bill. They were introduced by Indi MP Helen Haines (Independent).

What do the amendments do?

Dr Haines explained that:

Under the 2012 Basin Plan, basin states and the Commonwealth agreed to recover 2,750 gigalitres of water for the environment. To achieve this goal, the Basin Plan allows states to propose projects that will deliver an equivalent environmental outcome to buying back water licences without removing water from the consumptive pool. This is known as the sustainable diversion limit adjustment mechanism, and projects are referred to as sustainable diversion limit adjustment mechanism projects, or SDLAM projects. In total, the proposed SDLAM projects promise to deliver 605 gigalitres of equivalent environmental benefits, yet we're seeing delays. There are significant questions about whether the projects will deliver the promised benefits...

Independent and transparent scrutiny of these projects is absolutely necessary to ensure the Australian public and the environment are not being short-changed on taxpayer money for projects to return water to the basin. This scrutiny is the role of the Inspector-General of Water Compliance. The inspector-general must have appropriate powers to hold basin states accountable and to determine compliance with sustainable diversion limits and the promised outcomes of projects.

My amendments further strengthen the inspector-general's powers to make sure the states and projects are delivering. They enable the inspector to undertake an independent audit of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority's sustainable diversion limit, or SDL, calculations. These audits can be undertaken by the inspector-general or an independent person or body they appoint. SDLAM accounting, knowing what water is returned to the environment via supply or efficiency projects, should be done in a comprehensive, transparent and publicly accessible way that uses the best available science. This is to ensure that benefits for the environment are aligned with the targets of the Basin Plan.

Amendment text

(4) Schedule 2, item 49, page 24 (lines 9 to 13), omit the item.

(5) Schedule 2, page 24 (after line 13), after item 49, insert:

49A After subsection 7.27(1)


(1A) The Inspector-General may:

(a) audit calculations made by the Authority for the purposes of Parts 2 and 4; or

(b) appoint or establish a person or body that is independent of the Authority to audit calculations made by the Authority for the purposes of Parts 2 and 4.

(6) Schedule 2, item 50, page 24 (line 15), after "Inspector-General", insert "(unless the Inspector-General is conducting the audit)".

Votes Passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (0% turnout) Absent
Adam Bandt Melbourne Absent
Stephen Bates Brisbane Absent
Max Chandler-Mather Griffith Absent
Elizabeth Watson-Brown Ryan Absent
Australian Labor Party (92% turnout) 71 Yes 0 No
Anthony Albanese Grayndler Yes
Anne Aly Cowan Yes
Michelle Ananda-Rajah Higgins Yes
Chris Bowen McMahon Yes
Matt Burnell Spence Yes
Linda Burney Barton Yes
Josh Burns Macnamara Yes
Mark Butler Hindmarsh Yes
Alison Byrnes Cunningham Yes
Jim Chalmers Rankin Yes
Andrew Charlton Parramatta Yes
Lisa Chesters Bendigo Yes
Jason Clare Blaxland Yes
Sharon Claydon Newcastle Yes
Libby Coker Corangamite Yes
Julie Collins Franklin Yes
Pat Conroy Shortland Yes
Mary Doyle Aston Yes
Justine Elliot Richmond Yes
Cassandra Fernando Holt Yes
Mike Freelander Macarthur Yes
Carina Garland Chisholm Yes
Steve Georganas Adelaide Yes
Andrew Giles Scullin Yes
Patrick Gorman Perth Yes
Luke Gosling Solomon Yes
Julian Hill Bruce Yes
Ed Husic Chifley Yes
Stephen Jones Whitlam Yes
Ged Kearney Cooper Yes
Matt Keogh Burt Yes
Peter Khalil Wills Yes
Catherine King Ballarat Yes
Tania Lawrence Hasluck Yes
Jerome Laxale Bennelong Yes
Andrew Leigh Fenner Yes
Zaneta Mascarenhas Swan Yes
Kristy McBain Eden-Monaro Yes
Emma McBride Dobell Yes
Louise Miller-Frost Boothby Yes
Brian Mitchell Lyons Yes
Daniel Mulino Fraser Yes
Peta Murphy Dunkley Yes
Shayne Neumann Blair Yes
Brendan O'Connor Gorton Yes
Clare O'Neil Hotham Yes
Alicia Payne Canberra Yes
Graham Perrett Moreton Yes
Fiona Phillips Gilmore Yes
Tanya Plibersek Sydney Yes
Sam Rae Hawke Yes
Gordon Reid Robertson Yes
Dan Repacholi Hunter Yes
Amanda Rishworth Kingston Yes
Tracey Roberts Pearce Yes
Michelle Rowland Greenway Yes
Joanne Ryan Lalor Yes
Marion Scrymgour Lingiari Yes
Bill Shorten Maribyrnong Yes
Sally Sitou Reid Yes
David Smith Bean Yes
Anne Stanley Werriwa Yes
Meryl Swanson Paterson Yes
Susan Templeman Macquarie Yes
Matt Thistlethwaite Kingsford Smith Yes
Kate Thwaites Jagajaga Yes
Maria Vamvakinou Calwell Yes
Tim Watts Gellibrand Yes
Anika Wells Lilley Yes
Josh Wilson Fremantle Yes
Tony Zappia Makin Yes
Tony Burke Watson Absent
Mark Dreyfus Isaacs Absent
Madeleine King Brand Absent
Sam Lim Tangney Absent
Richard Marles Corio Absent
Rob Mitchell McEwen Absent
Rebekha Sharkie Mayo Centre Alliance Yes
Mark Coulton Parkes Deputy Speaker No
Kate Chaney Curtin Independent Yes
Zoe Daniel Goldstein Independent Yes
Helen Haines Indi Independent Yes
Dai Le Fowler Independent Yes
Monique Ryan Kooyong Independent Yes
Sophie Scamps Mackellar Independent Yes
Allegra Spender Wentworth Independent Yes
Zali Steggall Warringah Independent Yes
Kylea Tink North Sydney Independent Yes
Andrew Wilkie Clark Independent Yes
Andrew Gee Calare Independent Absent
Bob Katter Kennedy Katter's Australian Party Absent
Liberal National Party (78% turnout) 0 Yes 7 No
Colin Boyce Flynn No
Cameron Caldwell Fadden No
Garth Hamilton Groom No
Henry Pike Bowman No
Phillip Thompson Herbert No
Andrew Willcox Dawson No
Terry Young Longman No
Angie Bell Moncrieff Absent
Andrew Wallace Fisher Absent
Liberal Party (91% turnout) 0 Yes 31 No
Karen Andrews McPherson No
Bridget Archer Bass No
Russell Broadbent Monash No
Scott Buchholz Wright No
David Coleman Banks No
Warren Entsch Leichhardt No
Paul Fletcher Bradfield No
Ian Goodenough Moore No
Andrew Hastie Canning No
Alex Hawke Mitchell No
Luke Howarth Petrie No
Julian Leeser Berowra No
Sussan Ley Farrer No
Nola Marino Forrest No
Melissa McIntosh Lindsay No
Zoe McKenzie Flinders No
Tony Pasin Barker No
Gavin Pearce Braddon No
Melissa Price Durack No
Rowan Ramsey Grey No
James Stevens Sturt No
Michael Sukkar Deakin No
Angus Taylor Hume No
Dan Tehan Wannon No
Bert Van Manen Forde No
Ross Vasta Bonner No
Aaron Violi Casey No
Jenny Ware Hughes No
Rick Wilson O'Connor No
Keith Wolahan Menzies No
Jason Wood La Trobe No
Peter Dutton Dickson Absent
Scott Morrison Cook Absent
Ted O'Brien Fairfax Absent
National Party (75% turnout) 0 Yes 9 No
Sam Birrell Nicholls No
Darren Chester Gippsland No
David Gillespie Lyne No
Barnaby Joyce New England No
Michelle Landry Capricornia No
David Littleproud Maranoa No
Llew O'Brien Wide Bay No
Keith Pitt Hinkler No
Anne Webster Mallee No
Pat Conaghan Cowper Absent
Kevin Hogan Page Absent
Michael McCormack Riverina Absent
Milton Dick Oxley Speaker Absent
Totals (86% turnout) 82 Yes – 48 No