ANU EXPERTS: Adani, watergate and climate change policy

From Adani to water buybacks and climate change policy, environmental issues are taking centre stage in the 2019 Federal Election campaign. 

The following experts from The Australian National University (ANU) are available to speak about these environmental issues and their implications for the election and the nation.

Contact them directly or through the ANU media hotline on 02 6125 7979.


Professor Quentin Grafton
ANU Crawford School of Public Policy
T: 02 6125 6558
M: 0410 680 584
Expertise: Water policy, environment and resource economics, agricultural economics

“Independent of who the seller was in this $80 million water buyback, there are three key issues to come out of this.

“The first issue is transparency. Why did we have negotiated sales instead of open tenders? That was a decision made at the highest levels.”

“The second issue is value for money. All we have seen from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is a redacted set of documents making it impossible to see all the numbers in relation to value for money, marketplaces, and comparisons between other deals.”

“The third issue is the nature of the water that was purchased and the ability to protect and deliver this water to environmental sites downstream. Once it leaves the property there could be other irrigators who also have overland flow licences who could draw on that water. How are we going to protect that?”


Professor Jamie Pittock
ANU Fenner School of Environment & Society
M: 0407 265 131
Expertise: Climate change, water

“The future of the Murray-Darling Basin is at stake in this election and key elements of the $13 billion Basin Plan are failing to deliver intended environmental benefits.”

“The crucial test of the Government elected on 18 May is whether they will force the recalcitrant New South Wales and Victorian Governments to fully implement their Basin Plan commitments.”

“The Darling River system is threatened as the NSW and Queensland Governments have failed to regulate ‘off the books’ diversion of water on river floodplains.”

“NSW has also failed to protect environmental water from Queensland and low river flows from legal pumping by irrigators.”

“In the River Murray system, the failure of the NSW and Victorian Governments to remove constraints to managed flooding of floodplains is preventing effective use of environmental water.”

“This year the Federal Government has to accredit subsidiary state water plans – an opportunity to rectify failures of the state governments.”

“The Federal Government also has the opportunity to consider how to adapt to climate change, a key threat that is not managed in the current Basin Plan.”

Dr Liz Hanna
Chair, Environmental Health Working Group
ANU Climate Change Institute
T: 02 6257 6141
M: 0418 99 55 04
Expertise: Climate change impacts on human health and society. Physiological effects and policy

“With each day, we learn how the Coalition in government has abandoned its obligations to protect the health and livelihoods of Australians.”

“Water is Australia’s most precious resource. There is no life without water. Dodgy deals surrounding water from the Murray-Darling Basin, like giving it away to Adani, denies life and livelihoods of downstream Australian communities.”

“Deprivation of water is a crime against humanity – and should be seen as such.”

Dr Paul Burke
Arndt-Corden Department of Economics
ANU Crawford School of Public Policy
T: 02 6125 6566
M: 0421 083 933
Expertise: Environmental economics

“The science and economics tell us that action on climate change makes a lot of sense. The ideal approach would be through a mechanism that places a price on carbon. The Climate Solutions Fund is a very ineffective policy approach, prone to funding projects that may well have happened anyway.”

“The good news from the energy sector is that technologies are improving quickly. Solar, wind, batteries and zero-emission vehicles offer the potential to deliver sizeable emissions reductions. The important thing from a public policy viewpoint is to develop frameworks to best capitalise on the many technological opportunities that are out there.”


Professor John Hewson
Chair, ANU Tax and Transfer Policy Institute
ANU Crawford School of Public Policy
M: 0412 261 463
Expertise: Australian politics, economics

“Issues such as climate change, water, Adani and the environment generally will play a major factor in determining the outcome of this Federal Election.” 

About The Australian National University

ANU is a world-leading university in Australia’s capital city, Canberra. Our location points to our unique history, ties to the Australian Government and special standing as a resource for the Australian people.

Our focus on research as an asset, and an approach to education, ensures our graduates are in demand the world-over for their abilities to understand, and apply vision and creativity to addressing complex contemporary challenges.

The Australian National University
East Road, Acton
2601 Canberra