The Federal Government has released the nation's first ever dedicated sustainable population strategy which sets out the framework, backed by new funding for a sustainable Australia.

The Sustainable Australia - Sustainable Communities, A Sustainable Population Strategy for Australia focus is on population change rather than setting arbitrary targets, driving growth to regional areas by attracting skilled workers and more houses to where job opportunities are, and alleviating pressures in outer suburbs of major capital cities by supporting more local jobs.

The Strategy outlines the measures announced in the 2011-12 Budget including:

  • $100 million for a Suburban Jobs initiative to drive more job opportunities within easy reach of where people live in the outer suburbs of Australia's major capital cities. This initiative will support local and state governments to deliver employment precincts, manufacturing hubs and multifunction developments close to residential areas in growing outer suburbs;

  • $81.4 million in new investments in the National Urban Policy to help cities become more productive, sustainable and liveable, including $61.4 million for a smart managed motorways trial to cut motorway congestion and bring mums and dads home from work faster, and $20 million for a Liveable Cities program to invest in the development of urban renewal projects that improve access to jobs and housing, enhancing the liveability of our cities;

  • $29.2 million for a new Sustainable Regional Development initiative to support better sustainability planning in regions experiencing high growth through strategic assessments under national environmental law in up to seven additional regional and coastal growth areas;

  • $11.5 million for a new Promoting Regional Living Program to support Australia's regions to market themselves as an alternative to living in a major capital city; and

  • $10.1 million for a new Measuring Sustainability program to develop a set of sustainability indicators that can be factored in at a regional level to better inform decision makers.

The Queensland Government has announced a new Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland (EWOQ) following the retirement of Barry Adams.

The former Executive Director of the Water Services Association of Australia, Ross Young, has been appointed to lead the Australian water business of international environmental and engineering consulting company, GHD.

Tony Abbott’s  private member's bill to wind back the Queensland government's controversial Wild Rivers legislation is set to be defeated in the Senate following a last minute decision by Family First Senator Steve Fielding not to support the bill.

The Chief Executive of the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA), Rob Freeman, has resigned, citing personal reasons for his departure after nearly three years in the position.  It is the third resignation from the six-person board of the Authority in recent months.  

Sydney’s Desalination Plant has been named “Desalination Plant of the Year” at the 2011 Global Water Awards in Berlin.

The Federal Budget has announced a number of water initiatives while simultaneously axing $100 million over three years to contribute the $22 billion in Federal cuts.

South Australian water prices are due to increase by 26.3% this financial year, increasing the average household water bill to $200.

The Queensland Government is set to introduce legislation before the State Parliament to cap water and wastewater distribution prices for Southeast Queensland householders for the next two years starting from 1 July 2011.

A draft marine bioregional plan and a Commonwealth marine reserve network proposal for the South-west Marine Region have been released for public consultation. 

Irrigators in the Atherton sub-artesian area will have access to 100 per cent of their groundwater entitlements for the 2011-2012 water year.

The Gosford City Council has moved to reject Coca Cola Amatil’s (CCA) bid to extend its 66 megalitre water extraction rights in the region.

The NSW Government has announced plans for an artificial reef to be constructed off the coast of Sydney.

The Australian Productivity Commission (PC) is due to hold a number of public hearings on Australia’s urban water sector over the coming months.  The PC has formally invited interested parties to register their interest in the inquires.

The NSW State Office of Water has published its findings into the effects of increased environmental flow on the Snowy River.

The NSW Government is to initiate a $65 million Murrumbidgee water saving plan that is due to contribute to targets in the impending Murray Darling Basin Plan.

The Victorian Government has announced a $91 million package for urban water reform in the state’s 2011-12 Budget.

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