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Conference program 2023

River reflections conference. Connecting Basin communities, industries and ideas

Conference venue

The Crossing Theatre, Narrabri, New South Wales

Day 1 – Wednesday 14 June 2023

8:00 am Registrations (coffee and tea)  
9:00 am

Welcome and housekeeping

Jack Knowles, MC and General Manager, Communications, Engagement and Strategic Policy, Murray–Darling Basin Authority

9:05 am

Welcome to Country

Eddie Trindall, First Peoples of the Gomeroi and Narrabri Nations


9:15 am

Welcome to Narrabri from Narrabri Shire Council

Cr Ron Campbell, Mayor Narrabri Shire Council


9:20 am

Water management – international perspective

An international perspective on water management

Anne Castle, Senior Fellow, Getches-Wilkinson Center, University of Colorado Law School

Professor N. LeRoy Poff, Department of Biology, Fort Collins USA (also Distinguished Professorial Chair of Riverine Ecology and Environmental Flows, Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, Australia)


9:50 am

Panel discussion: preparing for a changing future

Professor N. LeRoy Poff, Department of Biology, Fort Collins USA

Marc Sutherland, Tamworth Regional Council, Community perspectives, Gomeroi person

Lorrae van Kerkhoff, Director, ANU Institute for Water Futures

Tim Goodes, Executive Director Basin Plan, Murray–Darling Basin Authority

10:20 am Morning tea / exhibits  
10:50 am

In the Hot Seat: MDBA

Andrew McConville, Chief Executive, Murray–Darling Basin Authority

11:05 am

Next steps in implementing the Basin Plan

Matt Dadswell, Head of Water Reform Division, Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water


11:20 am

Questions and answers on previous 2 sessions

Jack Knowles, MC

11:30 am

Celebrating Basin success stories – 10 years’ on

Regional case studies

  • Narran Lakes and Gwydir Wetlands – Jason Wilson and Jane Humphries, Local Engagement Officers, Commonwealth Environment Water Office
  • Trangie – Nevertire water efficiency scheme – Tony Quigley
  • Andrew McConville, Chief Executive, Murray–Darling Basin Authority
12:10 pm

Making the most of rainfall in a drying climate

Showcasing adaptation in action

Andrew Watson, Boggabri farmer


12:30 pm Lunch  
1:30 pm

Tour 1

Buses return to the Crossing Theatre at 5:30 pm

6:45 pm

Conference dinner (the Crossing Theatre)

‘On the couch conversation’

Tackling regional wellbeing and driving change in the country


Day 2 – Thursday 15 June 2023

8:30 am Muster and exhibits  
8:50 am


Outline of the day including details of breakout sessions

9:05 am

Keynote Address: The future of the Basin

Sir Angus Houston, Chair, Murray–Darling Basin Authority

9:25 am

Australian Government: Innovations and challenges of delivering water for the environment in the Basin

Dr Simon Banks, Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder

9:45 am

Stories from the Basin (3 sessions running concurrently)


Session 1: Economic outcomes: diversity matters

  • Pure Grain: Stuart Tighe, CEO
  • Pandaemonium newspaper: Alice Armitage, founder
  • Wood’s Group Algae Pharm: Eliezer Riñen

Session 2: Cultural outcomes: First Nations



Session 3: Environmental outcomes: Fish, feathers and flows

  • Fish and flows: Tony Townsend, Program Leader, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries
  • Waterbird breeding in New South Wales' Murrumbidgee and Lachlan Valleys: Dr Kate Brandis, UNSW
  • Learnings from 9 years of monitoring in the Warrego: Dr Paul Frazier, Director, 2rog


10:50 am Morning tea  
11:10 am

Summary and key messages from the breakout sessions

Presented by facilitators for each group

11:25 am

Attracting and retaining employees in regional Australia

Daniel Kahl, Wee Waa business manager and Nuffield scholar

11:50 am

Voices of the future, leadership and innovation in the region

Jess Strauch, Manager Border Rivers and Cotton Pricing, Queensland Cotton Corporation

Abby Ettershank, Principal Advisor, Pure Grain Network

James Pryor, REMPLAN economic development and planning and demography consultant

Lucas Wuersching, St George irrigator focused on water use efficiency

Marti Beeston, Engagement officer, Murray–Darling Basin Authority


12:30 pm

Round up and call to action

Jack Knowles, MC

12:35 pm Conference close  
12:40 pm Lunch  
1:20 pm

Tour to Narrabri Fish Farm: biggest fish farm in southern hemisphere and local success story

3:30 pm Day 2 finishes  
Updated: 06 Jun 2023