Sue Jackson
Griffith University

Sue Jackson profile imageProfessor Sue Jackson

Professor of Geography, Australian Rivers Institute

See Sue’s full research profile here.

E: [email protected]

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 organizations, the programs and practices of resource managers (including Indigenous community-based organizations), 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). Prof 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, Prof 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 Basin Plan.
  • Prof 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 north Australia. The NT created a national precedent in water allocation to native title-holders that was informed by her work.
  • Prof 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 NZ Waitangi Tribunal Freshwater Claim (2016), after preparing a report for the NZ Maori Council.
  • NESP Northern Hub projects: Indigenous water needs for the Fitzroy River.

Current academic employment and positions

  • Professor of Geography, Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University
  • ARC Future Fellow (Indigenous Water Management in the Murray-Darling Basin);
  • Project Leader, NESP Northern Hub (Indigenous water requirements in the Fitzroy River)
  • CI ARC Discovery Project (Social Benefits of Carbon & Water Markets)

Highest Qualification

  • 1998: PhD, Macquarie University.

Major Prizes, Medals and Honours

  • 2002-2005: Post-doctoral 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

  • Member, Scientific Advisory Panel for the Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum (from 2011)
  • Member of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board of Management (from 2016), where I am 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 (ACSEES)
  • Member , writing group for the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Plan for Indigenous communities (2010-11)
  • Contributor, 5th IPCC Assessment Report (2014) (leading the Australian Indigenous communities’ section of the Oceania chapter)
  • Member of Australian Academy of Sciences Independent Panel on the Menindee (Darling River) Fish Kills (2019)

Links with non-government groups or networks

  • Prof Jackson is currently leading a case study on savanna burning for the IPBES 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 (
  • Prof 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, 2015-2021NERP, 2012-2015TRaCK, 2005-present