High Court of Australia

Arnold v Minister Administering the Water Management Act 2000 [2010] HCA 3

240 CLR 242; 84 ALJR 203; 263 ALR 193

10 Feb 2010

Case Number: S6/2009 S110/2009


French CJ, Gummow, Hayne, Heydon, Crennan, Kiefel, Bell JJ


Constitutional law (Cth) – Powers of Commonwealth Parliament - Limitation on legislative power - Right of State or residents therein to reasonable use of waters of rivers for conservation or irrigation - Appellants held bore licences under Water Act 1912 (NSW) - Appellants' bore licences replaced, pursuant to funding agreement between Commonwealth and State of New South Wales, with aquifer access licences under Water Management Act 2000 (NSW) ("2000 Act") - Replacement of bore licences effectuated by making of Water Sharing Plan for the Lower Murray Groundwater Source by Minister Administering the 2000 Act ("Minister") pursuant to s 50 of 2000 Act - Whether Commonwealth legislation under which funding agreement allegedly made, or funding agreement, contravened s 100 of the Constitution - Whether appellants' bore licences entitled them to use "the waters of rivers".

Administrative law – Relevant and irrelevant considerations - Whether Minister took irrelevant considerations into account in making plan under s 50 of 2000 Act.

Constitutional law (Cth) – Powers of Commonwealth Parliament - Acquisition of property on just terms - Whether replacement of bore licences acquisition of property.

Words and phrases – "the waters of rivers".

Constitution – ss 51(xxxi), 98, 100.

National Water Commission Act 2004 (Cth).

Water Act 1912 (NSW).

Water Management Act 2000 (NSW)
– s 50.


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