The University of Western Australia

UWA Staff Profile

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Alex Gardner

Professor Alex Gardner

Law School

Contact details
Law School
The University of Western Australia (M253)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 2483
+61 8 6488 1045
Alex was born and raised on a farm in Western Australia, attending high school in Perth. After undergraduate studies at the Australian National University in Canberra (1977-1983) he worked as a solicitor in Melbourne before undertaking a Master of Laws specialising in Natural Resources and Environmental Law at the University of British Columbia(1986-87). Since 1988, Alex has been based at the University of Western Australia Faculty of Law teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students in Public Law and Natural Resources and Environmental Law. He was appointed Professor of Law in July 2015.

Key research
Alex's research interests are in Natural Resources and Environmental Law, with a special interest in Water Resources Law. A principal avenue for pursuing these research interests is through the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training: see below "Current Projects". Since 2012, he is a key researcher in the newly founded Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities: //; Project A3.2 on Better Regulatory Framework for Water Sensitive Cities.
Alex and Professor Richard Bartlett of the UWA Faculty of Law, with Ms Janice Gray of the Faculty of Law of the University of New South Wales, completed a five year project to produce a treatise on Water Resources Law, published by LexisNexis Butterworths, July 2009.

Details of some other recent publications are given below under "New and Noteworthy".

2005 - 2012: and see links to "Research Publications" for each year.
2004 Publications:
2003 Publications:
2002 Publications:
2001 Publications:
2000 Publications:
1999 Publications:
1998 Publications:
1997 Publications:
1996 Publications:
1995 Publications:
1994 Publications:
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
Besides his academic teaching and research interests, Alex has, since 1994, been an environmental legal consultant, especially to the Environmental Defenders Office (WA) and to Western Australian Government Agencies responsible for water resources management. He was a member of the Advisory Council to the Environmental Protection Authority of Western Australia from June 1995 to August 1999 and was appointed a senior sessional member of the State Administrative Tribunal in 2005, most recently re-appointed in 2012. From October 2006 to June 2008, Alex advised the State Department of Water on water resources law reform. In 2009-10 he assisted with advice to the Commonwealth Government on issues relating to the Murray Darling Basin. In 2013-15, he assisted the National Water Commission and the Commonwealth Department of Environment.

Alex is a contributing editor to the Environmental and Planning Law Journal and the current editor (since March 2012) of the Australian Resources and Energy Law Journal.
Future research
Alex also has ongoing research interests in:
* water resources law, generally;
* water resources law and adaptation to climate change;
* mining and water;
* water quality law, especially the regulation of diffuse source water pollution; and
* Ramsar wetlands.
Funding received
* International Mining for Development Centre, 2014-15, for a project on Mining and Water Law Reform for Ghana.
* Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities: 2013-2016, Project A3.2 on Better Regulatory Frameworks for Water Sensitive Cities.
* Australian Research Council / National Water Commission, funding through the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training: 2009-2014.
* Cotton Research and Development Corporation: 2010-2013.

National Environmental Law Association;
Australian Mining and Petroleum Law Association;
Alex currently teaches postgraduate units offered by the UWA Centre for Mining, Energy and Natural Resources Law ( in Water Resources Law and Environmental Law. At the UWA, he also teaches LLB / JD units Environmental Law and Administrative Law. He has formerly taught courses in Comparative Law and Constitutional Law.

Alex also teaches Water Resources Law in the graduate programs at:
* the Australian Centre for Environmental Law at the Australian National University College of Law since 2001; and
* the TC Beirne School of Law, The University of Queensland, since 2011.
Current external positions
Adjunct Professor, Australian National University College of Law, Australian Centre for Environmental Law.
Visiting Lecturer, TC Beirne School of Law, The University of Queensland
Senior Sessional Member of the Western Australian State Administrative Tribunal since 2005, re-appointed in 2012.
Useful links
Some of my publications are available on the Social Sciences Research Network author's page:
New and noteworthy
Recent publications and presentations:

M Bancroft and A Gardner, "Opportunities and obligations for residential developers to undertake wastewater recycling and stormwater capture: A Western Australian perspective", (2015) 32 Environmental and Planning Law Journal 372.

J Lee and A Gardner, “A peek around Kevin’s Corner: Adapting Away Substantive Limits?”,(2014) 31 Environmental and Planning Law Journal 247-250. See also, published LLB (Hons) thesis by Jessica Lee, “Theory to practice: Adaptive management of the groundwater impacts of Australian mining projects” (2014) 31 Environmental and Planning Law Journal 251-287.

M Bennett and A Gardner, “Regulating Groundwater in a Drying Climate: Lessons from South West Australia”, 2nd author with M Bennett, (2015) Journal of Energy & Natural Resources Law ( ). The article is based on "Groundwater Regulation in a Drying South West" report on 1 year research project funded by the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, 30 June 2014:

M Bennett and A Gardner, "How do environmental conservation laws interact with environmental aspects of water laws?" (2014) 31 Environmental and Planning Law Journal 3-10.

Sarah Robertson's LLB (Hons) thesis published: “A Regulatory Framework for Monitoring and Enforcing Water Access Rights in Western Australia”, (2014) 37(2) UWAL Rev 215-242.

A Gardner, "Mining Access to Water Resources - Traditions and Developing Principles" [2013] AMPLA Yearbook 306-339.

C McKay and A Gardner,“Water Accounting Information and Confidentiality in Australia”, (2013) 41(1) Federal Law Review 127 – 162.

A Gardner, “Lee and Gropler v Commonwealth and Murray-Darling Basin Authority – a reflection on a conception of Australian water access rights”, (2013) 28(3) Australian Environment Review 517-520.

M Waschka and A Gardner, “Using regulation to tackle the challenge of diffuse water pollution and its impact on the Great Barrier Reef”, (2012) 15(2) Australasian Journal of Natural Resources Law and Policy 109-147.

One of Alex's 2011 LLB Honours students, Natascha Sommer, recently had her thesis published: "Mine Dewatering in the Pilbara: A Legal Framework for Managing the Cumulative Impacts on Environmental Values and Indigenous Interests", (2012) 31(1) Australian Resources and Energy Law Journal 65-90.

Alex with Natascha Sommer, “Environmental Securities in the Mining Industry: A legal framework for Western Australia”, presented at the 2012 Annual Conference of Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, Perth, February 2012, and published in (2012) 31(3) Australian Resources and Energy Law Journal 242-262.

“An overview of the historical legal background to the “Proposed Basin Plan”, (2012) 29(4) Environmental and Planning Law Journal 263-267.

A Gardner and J Lee, “Case note: Macquarie Generation v Hodgson [2011] NSWCA 424”, Australian Environment Review, September 2012, 321-324.

“Water Reform and the Federal System”, in P Kildea et al (eds), Tomorrow’s Federation, Federation Press, 2012.

“The Legal Protection of Ramsar Wetlands: Australian Reforms”, paper presented to the 2009 Annual Colloquium of IUCN Academy of Environmental Law in Wuhan, China, and 1 of 15 papers published in the conference proceedings, P Martin et al (eds), Environmental Governance and Sustainability, Edward Elgar, 2012.

“Groundwater Governance: the Development of Water Law in Australia”, presented at a one day seminar Groundwater for Decision-Makers hosted by the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, Canberra, 1 September 2011.

“Groundwater Governance and Water Law”, presented at Australian Groundwater School, hosted by the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, Perth, 25 November 2011.

“Water Law: the National Water Initiative”, presented to the Summer School of the National Centre of Groundwater Research and Training, Adelaide, 29 November 2011.

“Key Legal Issues for the Murray-Darling Basin”, presented at Water Law & Policy Conference: Optimising the Future of the Murray-Darling Basin, 1 December 2011, Australian National University, Canberra.

With Zhang Yanfang and Zhang Yi, “Legal Perspective of Water Environmental Protection in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area” (2008) 18(1) Journal of Environmental Management College of China 42-44 (ISSN 1008-813X)
With Zhang Yanfang, “Principles of Environmental Water Allocation and Management in Australia and China” [2008] Journal of China University of Geosciences – Social Sciences Edition 11-14 (ISSN 1671-0169)

“Exploiting the Unspeakable: Third Party Access to Sewage and Public Sector Sewerage Infrastructure”, second author with Janice Gray, delivered to the 2007 Annual Symposium of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, Canberra, November 2007.

“Environmental Water Allocations and Their Governance”, with Kathleen Bowmer, paper presented to Delivering the National Water Initiative conference, Parliament House, Canberra, December 2006.

"Environmental Water Allocations in Australia" presented at International Symposium on Sustainable Water Management, National Europe Centre, the Australian National University, Canberra, September 2005.

With V Chung, "The Law and Policy of Environmental Water Allocations in Western Australia", and "Pricing Water for Environmental Externalities", Water Law Conference hosted by the Environmental Defenders Office (WA), Perth, July 2005.

Current projects
See my web page on "Water Resources Reform" for news of my research with the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training and with the Co-operative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities:

In July 2015, with Nick Duff of the Goldfields Land and Sea Council of Western Australia and two colleagues from the University of Ghana, I completed a collaborative Action Research Project titled:
"Regulating Mining Water Use and Impacts in Ghana: Comparing Ghanaian and Australian Law for Reform Ideas" -

Research profile
Research profile and publications

The University of Western Australia

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM