The National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality (NAP) has signalled a number of new approaches to addressing natural resource management and environmental problems across Australia. These approaches include the further development and practical application of market-based instruments (MBIs). Governments allocate significant resources to environmental and natural resource management, traditionally through policy approaches such as direct ‘command and control' regulation, education and suasion. Rather than prescribing behaviour or technology use, MBIs use price signals to change behaviour to benefit the environment. They offer the potential to achieve environmental goals at a more affordable cost to the community – and with less disruption to resource users.