Joint Media Release: $20m Basin research program increases security

1 September 2019

The Hon. David Littleproud MP, Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management
Tony Pasin MP, Federal Member for Barker


  • $20m Basin research program launched to improve Basin Plan outcomes
  • Program to improve our scientific knowledge of the Basin
  • Professor Rob Vertessy will chair the research program

A new $20 million research program to increase knowledge around the Murray Darling basin will help better inform water and environmental management decisions to improve outcomes for communities.

Minister for Water Resources David Littleproud said distinguished water scientist Professor Rob Vertessy would lead the program.

“Better information will only lead to better outcomes in the Basin,” Minister Littleproud said.

“The research will improve our understanding of how things such as hydrology and climate change impact the environment, and the livelihoods of people in the Basin.

“The program will also coordinate research that’s already happening so everyone is working together.”

Professor Vertessy led an independent review for the Government into the mass fish deaths in the lower Darling River last summer.

“After the fish deaths the Commonwealth committed $20 million to fund this new science over four years and this delivers on that commitment,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Now Professor Vertessy is on board, the research program can get underway.

“Regionally based research bodies will also benefit from the new research program and will be well placed to access this funding.”

Member for Barker Tony Pasin who represents the vast majority of the basin in South Australia said a better understanding of the basin would lead to better decision making and improved outcomes for local communities along the river.

“The river is the lifeblood for so many communities in my electorate. Knowledge is power, and having a better understanding of the basin system as a whole will translate to better policy outcomes for these local communities,” Mr Pasin said.

In his final report into the fish deaths, Professor Vertessy recommended increased investment in applied research to inform the needs of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan.

Professor Vertessy brings a wealth of knowledge to the role of Chair. He has previously led a Cooperative Research Centre on catchment hydrology and was head of the CSIRO’s Land and Water Division. He has also served as CEO of the Bureau of Meteorology and represented Australia at the World Meteorological Organization.

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority will administer the program.