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Published: 24 May 2018   •   Media statements

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) is pleased to welcome Ms Joanna Hewitt AO and Professor Stuart Bunn who will be acting as part-time members of the independent expert Authority.

Ms Hewitt and Professor Bunn bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be of great value to the MDBA and to the continued implementation of the Basin Plan.  They have also been nominated for appointment to the Authority by Minister David Littleproud in consultation with the Basin states.

Ms Hewitt was a commissioner of the former Murray–Darling Basin Commission, whose impressive achievements and experience span water policy, foreign policy, trade, agriculture and resource economics.

She has served on a United Nations expert panel on food security, as well as holding a senior role in the OECD Secretariat.

Professor Bunn is the Director of the Australian Rivers Institute at Griffith University, with extensive experience working with international and Australian government agencies on water management issues, and has served as an Australian National Water Commissioner.

His research focuses on ecology of river and wetland systems—particularly the science to underpin river management.

Professor Bunn’s new role will allow him to continue the valuable contribution he has already made to the implementation of the Basin Plan in his role as chair of the MDBA's Advisory Committee for Social, Economic and Environment Science.

I look forward to working with both Ms Hewitt and Professor Bunn—I am sure their knowledge, insights and expertise will make a valuable contribution to implementation of the Basin Plan.

Ms Hewitt and Professor Bunn replace outgoing authority members Professor Barry Hart AM and Ms Dianne Davidson AM.

I would like to thank Professor Hart and Ms Davidson for the outstanding contribution they have made to the work of the MDBA and to securing the future of Australia’s most iconic and important river system.

Theirs has been an extraordinary contribution spanning over nine years since the earliest days of the MDBA and Basin Plan.  Difficult and sometimes controversial decisions have been made in that time, and their enthusiasm for effective water reform has never wavered.

This is a critical time for the implementation of the Basin Plan, with new limits on water take becoming legally binding in mid-2019.  We still have some hard work ahead of us, but I am confident that we are well-placed for success.

The Basin Plan is our nation’s best plan of action for a healthy river system, and strong Basin communities, now and for future generations.

The Hon. Neil Andrew AO
Chair, Murray–Darling Basin Authority


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