The Basin Plan Who Needs It?

The Basin Plan Who Needs It?

10 Aug 2011

This contentious question was the basis for the 2011 Jonathan Mann Lecture, held at La Trobe’s Albury-Wodonga campus on Thursday 28th July, at 6pm.

Jonathon MannThe event was a great success, with a capacity crowd of close to 300 enjoying an engaging discussion, with a significant number of online guests joining in via webcast.

The 2011 lecture adopted a ‘Community Conversation’ format, moderated by eminent journalist, Kerry O’Brien. Key experts, stakeholders and audience members took part in a serious consideration of the central issues associated with water resource management within the Murray-Darling Basin. 

Participating stakeholders/experts were:

Dr Arlene Harriss-Buchan – Healthy Rivers Campaigner, Australian Conservation Foundation
Mr Danny O’Brien – Chief Executive Officer, National Irrigators Council
Professor Ben Gawne – Director, The Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre
Dr Neil Byron – Member, Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists
Professor Barry Hart – Member, Murray-Darling Basin Authority

'The Basin Plan is one of the most ambitious changes to water policy attempted anywhere in the world,” stated Professor Lin Crase, Professor of Applied Economics and Director of La Trobe’s Albury-Wodonga campus.

'The politics are controversial, the science is challenging and the socio-economic ramifications could prove significant.  Explaining and understanding the dimensions of the Plan and the processes used to inform it, is likely to be of great interest to residents of the Basin as well as those who will ultimately carry the costs outside the Basin,' said Professor Crase.

A recording of the event can now be viewed via iTunes at


The Jonathan Mann Lecture is an annual community engagement event held on the Albury-Wodonga campus of La Trobe University, with an on-going theme of “The River Murray and its People”. Proudly sponsored by the Mann family of Wodonga, the 2011 lecture is the nineteenth in the series.

Jonathan Mann History

Jonathan Mann’s father migrated to Australia in 1853 at the age of 15, seeking his fortune on the Victorian goldfields. He found that fortune more in delivering goods to outlying districts than in digging for gold.  Jonathan Mann was born in 1867 at Clunes near Inglewood where his parents had moved after the rush began to wane. In 1890, he became the first farmer to grow wheat in the Mallee. 

In 1903, the family moved to ‘Murray Glen’, a farm on the banks of the Murray River, directly north of the Albury-Wodonga campus, and in 1919, Jonathan looked for a site to establish a produce store for his son. Chiltern at that time was a larger town, but Jonathan chose Wodonga because the Murray River, in his words, ‘was the only true source of wealth in Australia’.

Jonathan’s empathy with the Murray River and his belief in its capacity to enrich people’s lives endures today through the Jonathan Mann Memorial Lecture series.


To arrange an interview or for further information, please contact:

Reinhard Beissbarth
La Trobe University Albury-Wodonga
P 02 6024 9784 E




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