The Department engages with various stakeholders to get their input into planning. Stakeholder panels are one way of doing this. Panel members are chosen so that feedback can be provided from a range of different perspectives and community interests.
The purpose of parliamentary committees is mainly to conduct inquiries and provides reports to the Parliament to assist the decision-making by Senators and Members. An important function of committees is to scrutinise government activity, including legislation, and the conduct of public administration and policy issues.
Public input is important. Through its committees Parliament is able to be better informed of community problems and attitudes. Committees provide a public forum for the presentation of the various views of individual citizens and interest groups. See also: Getting involved in Parliamentary Committees.
Science and decision making
The Water Act 2007 sets out arrangements to manage water entitlements acquired by the Commonwealth. These water entitlements will be used to protect or restore environmental assets such as wetlands and streams. See the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office.
A panel of scientific experts, the Environmental Water Scientific Advisory Panel, has been appointed to advise on the use of environmental water.
Under Water for the Future, the Bureau of Meteorology is developing a national water monitoring and data collection network. The program includes development and maintenance of an integrated, national water information system freely accessible to the public.
CSIRO has been working on a comprehensive scientific assessment of water yield in all major water systems across the country to allow a consistent analytical framework for water policy decisions across the nation. See Murray-Darling Basin Sustainable Yields Project.
The Sustainable Rivers Audit was created to assess river health across all the Basin's rivers in the long term. The audit is overseen by a panel of ecologists, the Independent Sustainable Rivers Audit Group.