The Dumaresq-Barwon Rivers Commission was constituted by an agreement on 27 August 1946 between the New South Wales and Queensland Governments. The ratifying New South Wales and Queensland Legislation is the New South Wales-Queensland Border Rivers Act, 1947 (Act No.10 1947) and the New South Wales-Queensland Border Rivers Act, 1946 (Act No. 16 1946), respectively. The Governors of both States, by proclamations published in their respective Gazettes, appointed 1 July 1947 as the day on which the Acts came into force. (1)
It was not, however, until 24 August 1948 that the constitution of the Dumaresq-Barwon Rivers Commission was finalised. The inaugural meeting of the Commission was held in Sydney on 3 September 1948. (2)
The Commission consists of three Commissioners; one of whom is appointed by the Queensland Government, one by the New South Wales Government while the third, who must not be a person in the service of either government, is appointed jointly by the Premiers of the two States as Chairman. Each is appointed for a period not exceeding five years.
The Agreement provides that the waters of the Dumaresq River and its tributaries upstream of Mingoola are to be shared equally between the two States. However, each State has the right to full use of the waters of its own tributary streams that enter the border rivers downstream of Mingoola.
Each State is responsible for controlling the distribution of its share of water from the border rivers, which are defined as those sections of the Severn, Dumaresq, Macintyre and Barwon rivers forming part of the State border between New South Wales and Queensland from Mingoola downstream to Mungindi.
The Dumaresq-Barwon Rivers Commission is responsible for a) conservation and equal sharing of the waters of the Dumaresq upstream of Mingoola; b) regulation of rivers downstream of Mingoola; and equitable distribution of the waters of the streams which intersect the Queensland-New South Wales Border, west of Mungindi, known as the "intersecting streams"
The Dumaresq-Barwon Border Rivers Commission makes recommendations to the governments of New South Wales and Queensland concerning the construction of works and measures for conservation and regulation of water resources of the region. The Commission's investigation, construction, maintenance and operation responsibilities are performed, at cost, by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and the New South Wales Department of Land and Water Conservation. The Commission does not directly employ any staff.
(1) Annual Report of the Dumaresq-Barwon Border Rivers Commission for the year ended 30 June 1949 in the Joint Volumes of Papers presented to the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly 1948-49-50 Vol. 3 page 609.
(2) Loc cit. page 609.