Can the High Court Save the River Murray

(2012) 29 Environment and Planning Law Journal 281

U. of Adelaide Law Research Paper No. 2012-13

22 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2014

See all articles by Adam Webster

Adam Webster

University of Oxford - Blavatnik School of Government

John Williams

University of Adelaide; University of Adelaide - School of Law

Date Written: March 2012

Abstract

Since before Federation, South Australian politicians have claimed that their colony (and later State) has a legal right to a share of the water from the Murray River. Recently, South Australian Premiers have said that, should current negotiations fail to produce a satisfactory outcome for the State, they may challenge the Basin Plan in the High Court to assert South Australia’s legal claim to a share of the waters of the Murray. This article explores the role that the High Court has played in resolving disputes in times of crisis, and examines whether the High Court of Australia would have jurisdiction over an interstate water dispute. Finally, the article considers the legal basis for South Australia’s claim to a “fair share” of the waters of the Murray River.

Keywords: River Murray, Murray River, Murray-Darling, interstate water,transboundary water, interstate river, transboundary river, Basin Plan, water law, water rights

JEL Classification: K32

Suggested Citation

Webster, Adam and Williams, John, Can the High Court Save the River Murray (March 2012). (2012) 29 Environment and Planning Law Journal 281 ; U. of Adelaide Law Research Paper No. 2012-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2404740

Adam Webster (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Blavatnik School of Government ( email )

10 Merton St
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4JJ
United Kingdom

John Williams

University of Adelaide ( email )

No 233 North Terrace, School of Commerce
Adelaide, South Australia 5005
Australia

University of Adelaide - School of Law ( email )

Ligertwood Building
Adelaide 5005, South Australia SA 5005
Australia

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