7th Annual Water Forum

Keynote presenters

You can download each of our keynotes presenters' presentations from this page. If you need a format other than pdf, please email Sophie Buckle or call 02 6024 9804.

Dave AppelsDavid Appels

Economist, Frontier Economics

David is an economist specialising in natural resource topics, particularly water, including the impacts of water trading, water market design, and broader water management and policy.

Recent projects include:

  • managing Frontier's advice on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan
  • reviewing Schedule D of the Murray-Darling Agreement for the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA)
  • reporting on current issues in Australia's water markets
  • examining the economic, social and environmental impacts of water trade in the southern Murray–Darling Basin
  • developing frameworks to assess the progress of water-market reform.

David also applies quantitative economic approaches. He has recently provided expert evidence in the South Australian Federal Court challenge to Victorian Water Trading Rules and developed a model of temporary water markets to assess the effect of changing water trading possibilities.

His recent clients include the ACCC, National Water Commission (NWC), MDBA, Victorian Department of the Environment and Primary Industries.

David has a Bachelor of Science and an Honours degree in Economics from ANU and a Master of Environment (Economics) from the University of Melbourne.

Download Dave's presentation [PDF 591KB].

Andrew BrennanAndrew Brennan

Professor of Philosophy and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate Research), La Trobe University

Before joining La Trobe, Andrew was Professor and Chair of Philosophy at the University of Western Australia.

He has also held professorships at the University of Oslo and the City University of Hong Kong. 

His most recent book, Understanding Environmental Philosophy (Acumen 2010), is co-authored with Norva Y S Lo. 

He has written widely on environmental philosophy and the philosophy of language.

Download Andrew's presentation [PDF 5879KB].

Joel ByrnesJoel Byrnes

Principal Economist, E2DesignLab

Dr Joel Byrnes is Principal Economist at E2DesignLab, a firm that specialises in the design of thriving and sustainable places. He holds a PhD in economics, and provides advice to clients on the economics of water policy and projects.

Before commencing his consulting career, Joel was an academic economist, teaching a wide range of economic subjects and publishing widely on water resource and local government matters.

Joel is currently an Adjunct Professor at La Trobe University in Victoria, where he is an active member of the Centre for Water Management and Policy. He is also a member of the Centre for Local Government at the University of New England, where he sits on the editorial board, and was recently invited to join the Peter Cullen Trust.     

Bethany CooperBethany Cooper

Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Water Policy and Management

Dr Bethany Cooper is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Water Policy and Management. In recognition of the quality of her research, Bethany has received numerous scholarly awards, including a Committee for Economic Development of Australia award.

Her PhD and subsequent research has focused on choice behaviour and water policy and she has published several empirical studies in prestigious scholarly journals, such as the Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Water Resources Research.

Bethany has also completed a number of projects funded by major water utilities and regulatory bodies.

Download Bethany and Peter Morison's presentation [PDF 1,112KB].

Will FargerWill Farger

Director of Economics, Policy and Strategy, Aither

Will's recent work for federal, state and private clients includes advising on water policy and program development, institutions and governance, and research and infrastructure investment.

Before co-founding Aither, Will served as General Manager at the National Water Commission. In 2009, he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study international water policy and management.

He currently sits on the Water Expert Panel, overseeing the development of the National Infrastructure Plan and 15 Year Project Pipeline.

Ben Gawne

Ben Gawne

Director, Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre

Ben's research topics of special interest include:

  • Lowland river ecology
  • Flow ecology
  • Aquatic invertebrate ecology
  • Primary productivity and decomposition.

Ben holds a PhD and Biology BSc (Hons) from Monash University. He is based in Wodonga, Victoria.

Download Ben's presentation [PDF 1442KB].

Dave GriggsDave Griggs

Chief Executive Officer of ClimateWorks Australia; Professor at Monash University; Director of the Monash Sustainability Institute

The Monash Sustainability Institute delivers sustainability research and education solutions. ClimateWorks Australia, which Dave founded in 2008, focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Dave has previously been the UK Met Office Deputy Chief Scientist, Director of the Hadley Centre for Climate Change, and Head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientific assessment unit.  

Dave is a past vice-chair of the World Climate Research Programme. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and was awarded the Vilho Vaisala award (World Meteorological Organisation).

Michelle HudsonMichelle Hudson

Communications and Marketing Manager, North East Water

Michelle leads North East Water's activities in the areas of media and marketing, community engagement, and schools and community education programs.

Michelle joined North East Water in November 2012, bringing to the organisation significant skills in marketing management and marketing communications. She has worked in a number of organisations and industries, including 15 years with IBM Australia.

Bradley Moggridge

Program Manager, Aboriginal Water Initiative, NSW Office of Water

Brad is from the Kamilaroi Nation.  He was a member of the Federal Department of the Environment's Indigenous Water Advisory Committee and the National Water Commission's First Peoples' Water Engagement Council. He is a Member of AIATSIS and the International Association of Hydrogeologists and is also on the Joint Steering Committee for the review of the National Water Quality Management Strategy (NWQMS).

He holds a Master's qualifications in Hydrogeology from University of Technology Sydney and a Bachelor of Environmental Science from Australian Catholic University.

The NSW Office of Water's Aboriginal Water Initiative is the only Aboriginal water unit in Australia.

Download Bradley's presentation [PDF 2094KB].

Peter MorisonPeter Morison

Manager of Land, Liveability and Stewardship at Melbourne Water; Fellow at the University of Melbourne's School of Land and Environment

Peter is an environmental and social scientist, specialising in the design of governance approaches for complex institutional problems.  With over twenty years' experience, Peter has worked in research centres, catchment management organisations, state government agencies, local governments, and as a consultant to various government organisations, managing a diverse portfolio of natural resource and urban water management projects. 

He is a member of the Australian Water Association, the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand, and the Stormwater Industry Association.

Download Peter and Bethany's presentation [PDF 1112 KB].

Tim NelsonTim Nelson

Head of Economics, Policy and Sustainability, AGL Energy

In his role at AGL Energy, Tim is responsible for: 

  • AGL's sustainability strategy
  • greenhouse accounting and reporting
  • AGL's energy and greenhouse research
  • AGL's corporate citizenship program, Energy for Life
  • energy and greenhouse policy.

Tim is also an Adjunct Research Fellow at the University of New England and has had several papers published in Australian and international peer-reviewed journals. He has presented at conferences in Australia and throughout Asia and Europe.

Tim holds a first class Honours degree in economics and is a chartered secretary.

Download Tim's forum presentation [PDF 1605KB].
Download Tim's public lecture [PDF 1032KB].

Nick O'KaneNick O'Kane

Director, Infrastructure Regulation Division, ACCC

Nick led the development of the ACCC's advice to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) on Basin Plan water trading rules.

Nick continues to advise the MDBA and other government agencies on water trading and broader water market issues and manages the ACCC's water monitoring functions.

Download Nick's presentation [PDF 1147KB].

Ian Overton 

Ian Overton

Principal Research Scientist, Land and Water Flagship, CSIRO

Ian has led research teams on water values and benefits as well as environmental water management. He has over 20 years' experience in ecology, hydrology, water resource management and spatial information science, with particular expertise in spatial modelling of environmental systems and the Murray-Darling Basin. He has over 100 publications and his current research is on the management of water-dependent ecosystems within a sustainable social and economic environment.

His recent projects include:

  • the Murray-Darling Basin and River Murray Floodplain Inundation Models
  • optimisation of riparian investments for environmental, social and economic benefits
  • spatial modelling of ecosystem responses to flow regimes
  • floodplain health assessment modelling from groundwater and surface water management
  • a predictive vegetation health model for the River Murray Floodplain.

Nicholas PawseyNicholas Pawsey

Lecturer in Accounting, La Trobe Business School; member of CWPM

Nicholas' principal areas of research expertise include public sector accounting, water prices and international accounting standards. He has prepared a number of journal articles, book chapters, and funded reports on these issues. Through his work on Victorian water businesses, Nicholas has scrutinised the regulatory and statutory accounting frameworks governing the sector and the infrastructure reporting practices of individual businesses.




Jason ThiemJason Thiem

Fisheries Scientist, Fisheries NSW

Jason's PhD research focused on the effects of dams on lake sturgeon migration and reproductive behaviour, as well as the biomechanics and energetics of sturgeon passage through fishways.

He has undertaken fisheries research in Australia, Canada, USA and The Bahamas. He is currently working on a range of environmental watering projects in the Murray-Darling Basin, examining fish responses to altered hydrological regimes.

Martin van BuerenMartin van Bueren

Director, Synergies Economic Consulting

Martin is an economist with 15 years' experience in consulting to government and private sector clients.

He works across a range of sectors, including:

  • mining
  • environment
  • urban and rural water
  • infrastructure
  • ports.

He has specialist expertise in water policy and management, regulatory economics, pricing, program review and cost-benefit analysis.

Martin has produced a number of reports for the National Water Commission on the functioning of water markets. In 2011, he advised the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder on market models for managing environmental water. He was recently engaged by the Western Australian Department of Water to help prepare a position paper on legislative and policy reforms in that state. 

For the mining sector, he has evaluated the economics of new water sources to underpin mine development and advised on policies for managing the cumulative impacts of mine dewatering.

Martin has a PhD in environmental economics and a Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Science.

Download Martin's presentation [PDF 1307KB].

Neil Ward

Neil Ward

Director, Aboriginal Policy and Research, Murray-Darling Basin Authority

Neil has over thirty years' experience working in land management agencies across south eastern Australia and in the Northern Territory.  He has held state-wide policy-level positions, as well as regionally-based operational roles, and has a practical understanding of land and water management issues.

With the realisation many years ago that meaningful Aboriginal involvement in natural resource management was integral to good environmental outcomes, Neil has been working to increase the level of Aboriginal involvement and empowerment in natural resource management. 

In his current role with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, he is focusing on three areas:

  • strengthening Aboriginal voices
  • raising awareness of Aboriginal interests and perspectives
  • researching tools to help Aboriginal leaders have equitable input to water planning processes.

Neil will talk about some of the current challenges and progress in investigating the scope, meaning and use of Cultural Flows and will explain the development of a Cultural Flows Health Indicator.

Download Neil's presentation [PDF 4874KB].