Sue Jackson
Griffith University

Sue Jackson profile imageProfessor Sue Jackson

Professor of geography, Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University

See Professor Jackson’s full research profile here.


Research outputs linked to policy change and decision-making

  • Over the past 15 years, Professor Jackson’s research outputs have impacted national water policy, the advocacy strategies of Indigenous organisations, the programs and practices of resource managers (including Indigenous community-based organisations), and decisions of research funders. Key agencies responsible for water policy in Australia and elsewhere have sought her advice, including the federal water/environment department, the Productivity Commission, Murray–Darling Basin Authority, state water agencies and numerous Indigenous organisations. Her research on Indigenous participation in water planning (while based at CSIRO where she led its largest national Indigenous research project) informed the development of national guidelines for water planning (developed by the federal environment department). Professor Jackson has provided evidence to this national standard and reviewed drafts (see, for example, Journal of Hydrology [2012; v474]). Based on the advice of a consultancy report she led and conference that she coordinated in 2011, the National Water Commission formed an Indigenous advisory group to the federal minister. In 2010, Professor Jackson led the social impact assessment for the Murray–Darling Basin Plan (2010). The report’s findings influenced the accreditation outcomes and other features of the plan.
  • Professor Jackson co-designed a major innovation in policy-making with Indigenous leader, Joe Morrison. The Indigenous Water Policy Group improved Indigenous allocation outcomes in advance of an increase in water use in northern Australia. The NT created a national precedent in water allocation to native title-holders that was informed by her work.
  • Professor Jackson’s Future Fellowship on Indigenous water management generated findings of importance to a number of governments. For example, she served as an expert witness in the New Zealand Waitangi Tribunal Freshwater Claim (2016), after preparing a report for the New Zealand Maori Council.
  • National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Northern Australia Environmental Science Hub (NAERH) project: Indigenous water needs for the Fitzroy River.

Current academic employment and positions

  • professor of geography, Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University
  • Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow (Indigenous Water Management in the Murray–Darling Basin)
  • project leader, NESP NAERH
  • chief investigator, ARC discovery project (social benefits of carbon and water markets).

Highest qualification

  • 1998: PhD, Macquarie University.

Major prizes, medals and honours

  • 2002–2005: Postdoctoral Research Scientist, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Darwin
  • 2005: CSIRO Divisional Partnership Excellence Award: In recognition of outstanding contributions in building CSIRO capacity to partner with Indigenous communities and organisations.

Roles on government or regional organisation committees

  • 2011–present: member, scientific advisory panel, Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum
  • 2016–present: member of Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park Board of Management, where she is chairperson of the park’s cultural heritage and scientific sub-committee
  • member, Murray–Darling Basin Authority’s advisory committee on social, economic and environmental sciences
  • 2010–2011: member, writing group for the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Plan for Indigenous communities
  • 2014: contributor, 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report (leading the Australian Indigenous communities’ section of the Oceania chapter)
  • 2019: member, Australian Academy of Sciences independent panel on the Menindee (Darling River) fish kills.

Links with non-government groups or networks

  • Professor Jackson is currently leading a case study on savanna burning for the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services values assessment for 2022 (upon invitation).
  • She co-convenes the FutureWater Working Group – Rivers, flows and people: Connecting ecosystems with human communities, cultures, and livelihoods.
  • Professor Jackson has close links to a number of Indigenous organisations including the Kimberley and Northern Land Councils, the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation, the Murray–Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations; Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations, the Martuwarra (Fitzroy River) Council. She is a member of the technical group advising the Barkandji Prescribed Body Corporate on their Healthy Country Plan.

My Projects

Current projectCompleted project
NESP RLH, 2021-2027NESP, 2015-2021NERP, 2012-2015TRaCK, 2005-present