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NSW Parliamentary Library Research Service

Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority Namoi Catchment Management Authority Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority Western Catchment Management Authority


The Natural Resources Commission Act 2003

This Act established the Natural Resources Commission, which provides independent advice to the Government on natural resource management. The Commission is part of the Premier's Department, reflecting its independent nature, and reports jointly to the Premier and the Minister for Natural Resources. The current chair of the Commission is Dr Tom

Parry, with four assistant commissioners.

The Commission’s core functions are to:

  • Recommend state-wide standards and targets for natural resource management;

  • Review and recommend the approval of Catchment Action Plans prepared by 13 Catchment Management Authorities across NSW;

  • Audit Catchment Management Authorities' implementation of these plans and their effectiveness in achieving state-wide standards and targets.

In addition, the government can ask the Commission to undertake assessments and inquiries into other natural resource management issues. For instance, currently the Commission is also:

  • Supervising the environmental impact of the cloud seeding trial in the Snowy


  • Advising the Department of Planning on coastal protection issues; and

  • Preparing to audit water sharing plans under the Water Management Act 2000.

The Act also provides the guiding principles that the Commission is to have regard to, as follows:

  • (a)

    the principles of ecologically sustainable development; and

  • (b)

    the social and economic implications of its recommendations and advice; and

  • (c)

    an integrated approach to natural resource management issues; and

  • (d)

    regional variation in the environment; and

  • (e)

    indigenous knowledge of natural resource management; and

  • (f)

    State and national legislation and policies that are relevant to natural resource


As an indication of the sweeping reforms of the package of natural resource management legislation, with the establishment of the Natural Resources Commission the following committees/commissions were abolished:

  • Resource and Conservation Assessment Council;

  • Healthy Rivers Commission;

  • Coastal Council;

  • State Catchment Management Co-ordinating Committee;

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