Professor Quentin Grafton’s address, titled Confronting a Post-Truth Water World, was held from 10.30am-12.30pm on Monday 25 November at the DFAT, Sydney. Followed by a Q & A.
Professor Grafton talked about Australia’s water crisis, the issues involved and measures needed to alleviate the dire situation that Australians are now experiencing due to an extended drought. The NSW Government has announced severe water restrictions being mandated in Sydney, Blue Mountains and the Illawarra from December 2019.
Australia is now going through unpredictable, deadly bushfires which are occurring because of widespread drought across Australia. These life-taking fires are occurring in NSW, Queensland and other states, and they are having devastating effects on human life and properties, food production, livestock and wildlife survival, viable farming operations, native trees and plants. Already at least four human lives have been lost as a consequence of bushfires. The unprecedented budget consequences overall have not yet been calculated.
Recently, the Australian Government unveiled interest-free loans for drought-stricken farmers and small businesses that are dependent on agriculture, plus funding for drought projects and regional infrastructure – but will these measures be sufficient to ensure survival of agriculture and farming businesses across Australia?
Professor Grafton discussed the Government’s drought stimulus package – as well as water management problems created by poor Government policies that have been the cause of water shortages on the land, besides the drought.
Brief bio for Professor Quentin Grafton:
Quentin Grafton is Professor of Economics and Chairholder UNESCO Chair in Water Economics and Transboundary Water Governance. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and a former President (2017-18) of the Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society. In 2019 he was appointed an Australian Research Council Laureate for a project that begins in 2020 entitled “The Thirsty Country: Non-market valuation and resilient decision-making for water justice’. He has published more than 150 scholarly (including in journals like Science), 46 chapters in books and 17 edited or co-authored books (in Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press). He has presented and given keynotes at some of the world’s leading universities such as Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, Tsinghua universities, the University of Tokyo and the National University of Singapore. He previously served as Chief Economist and Foundation Executive Director of the Australian Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (2011-2013). He currently serves as the Director of the Food, Energy, Environment and Water (FE2W) Network convenes the Water Justice Hub and The Geneva Actions on Human Water Security.