Second annual gathering
On 31 August 2023, we held our second annual gathering of Watertrust Australia, aka our 'jamboree'. With our board, advisors, team and a few special guests we delved into what it takes to achieve better decision-making processes for water policy.
The day opened with a moving Welcome to Country from noted senior Ngambri, Ngunnawal and Wiradyuri custodian Paul Girrawah House. Our Board Chair, Kathryn Fagg AO, provided remarks before the keynote address from Andrew McConville, CEO of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority. Andrew highlighted the challenges of working in the water space. He reinforced the need for new thinking that takes a systems view, considers a broad range of perspectives and enables adaptation to future changes and challenges.
We heard 'stories from the field' as Watertrust team members and project partners reflected on our different approaches to 'process'. Throughout the remainder of the day and over dinner we reflected with a panel, in groups and personally on various aspects of good decision-making and where things can be done better.
Overall, our discussions confirmed the pressing need to bring stakeholders together on complex and contested policy issues. We must move beyond divisive partisan politics, interest group pressure and misinformation. Australia needs better ways of making water and catchment policy decisions which all stakeholders see as fair, consistent and informed by many sources of knowledge. If you'd like to hear more, you can watch a compilation of reflections from attendees.
Watertrust is well placed to positively influence water policy development across Australia. We have built a solid foundation and strong relationships. The current policy context and climate forecasts (short and long term) underscore the criticality of our role and approach.