Murray Darling River Basin, Australia: Government Intervention and Government Failure |

Murray Darling River Basin, Australia: Government Intervention and Government Failure


The Murray Darling Basin is known as Australia's food bowl, spanning four state jurisdictions and one territory. Stronger Federal Government intervention in the Murray Darling Basin commenced in 2007, marked by the passage of the Water Act 2007 with a focus on Basin wide environment flow planning. The legislation was preceded by State government over-allocation of water entitlements and a series of attempted corrective water market measures between 1994 and 2007 which delivered limited gains for environmental flows during the decade long drought (2001-2010).

The Water Act 2007 required the Murray Darling Basin Authority to produce a guide to the Basin Plan for public consultation, followed by a draft Basin Plan for further public consultation. Both documents attracted sharp criticism from irrigators and environmental scientist for opposing reasons. All parties, including State governments, highlighted a failure to provide an appropriate balance of combined environmental flow protection and transition economy capitalist investment strategies.

This article reviews federal government intervention in the Murray Darling Basin, Australia for optimizing environmental, social and economic outcomes under mandatory collaborative governance procedures in Federal Water Act 2007 and seeks to explain government failure with reference to theoretical insights. The theoretical work considered includes new institutional economics, social choice theory, collective action theory and negotiations theory.

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Ms. Vinoli Thampapillai, PhD Candidate, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University; Lecturer, Victoria Law School, Melbourne, Australia

Tuesday, 08 May 2012
12.15 p.m. - 1.30 p.m.

Seminar Room 3-4
Level 3, Manasseh Meyer
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
469C Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 259772

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