The Water Management Act 1999 (WMA) provides the statutory basis for the use and management of freshwater resources in Tasmania and Part 8 of the Act regulates the construction of dam works.
From 2000 when the WMA commenced until 31 December 2015, the decision maker in relation to dam works permit applications was the Assessment Committee for Dam Construction (ACDC). During 2015-16 legislative amendments were made to the WMA in order to simplify and streamline the dam works approval process. The amendments came into effect on 1 January 2016.
From 1 January 2016, the Minister for Primary Industries and Water (the Minister) replaced the ACDC as the decision maker in relation to dam works. The abolition of the ACDC was not the only legislative change that took effect on 1 January 2016, other key reforms included:
- providing a pathway for obtaining dam works permits without need of making an application for offstream low consequence dams;
- better defining the nature and scope of dam works permits;
- specifying criteria under which dam works permit applications must be approved;
- specifying the matters to be considered by the decision‑maker in relation to dam works permit applications;
- simplifying the provisions regarding the timeframe for decisions on dam works permit applications;
- providing for conditional approval of dam works permit applications in some circumstances;
- providing for the issuing of a dam operating notice; and
- establishing a dam offsets register.
The Minister has subsequently delegated functions such as the consideration and granting of dam permits to specified positions within the Water and Marine Resources Division in the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE). A hierarchical approach to delegation with progressively higher levels of delegated authority required to either approve or refuse more complex applications has been implemented and it is providing an efficient and effective decision making process.
There is a requirement under section 164ZN of the WMA for the Minister to prepare an annual report in relation to the performance and exercise of his or her functions and powers under Part 8 (Dam Works) of the WMA.
 Under the Act, 'dam works' means any works for the construction, erection, enlargement, modification, repair or removal of a dam, or for the conversion of land to a dam, or any work on any such dam which may significantly increase the dam's safety risk.
2015-2016 Annual Report
2015-16 Annual Report Part 8 WMA Dam Works (184Kb)