Australia’s water reform journey: policy insights from Jane Doolan

In episode 3 of the University of New South Wales Global Water Institute‘s ‘Global Water Matters‘ podcast, Gretchen Miller interviews Water Policy Group Member and Australian water policy expert, Jane Doolan.

The interview provides unique insight into the past, present and future of Australia’s journey on water reform, starting with Jane’s early work in Victoria grappling with complexity of introducing environmental considerations into decisions around water allocations.

Jane and Gretchen also discuss the policy developments and cooperation between states and the Commonwealth that led to landmark developments in Australian water management including setting caps on extraction, changes to land that enabled a market for trade of entitlements and a mechanism to allow water recovered for the environment.

However, Australia’s water reform journey has not finished and the podcast concludes with a discussion on the focus of the current Productivity Commission inquiry including the importance of respect for knowledge of traditional owners and greater participation in water reforms by all first nation communities; progress on urban water reform – particularly efforts to maximise the social value of water in our cities; and ensuring that the mistakes of the past in south eastern Australia are not repeated in northern Australia as government investment in water infrastructure increases in this region.

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