Alex Gardner

Professor, BA(Hons) LLB(Hons) ANU, LLM Br.Col.

  • The University of Western Australia (M253), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • The University of Western Australia (M253), 35 Stirling Highway, Room 2.08, Law Building

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


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 Law School teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students in Public Law and Natural Resources and Environmental Law. He was appointed Professor of Law in July 2015.

Roles and responsibilities

Besides his academic teaching and research interests, Alex has, since 1994, been an environmental legal consultant, especially to the Environmental Defender's 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 a senior sessional member of the State Administrative Tribunal from 2005-2017.

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 was from 2012-2017 the editor of the Australian Resources and Energy Law Journal.

Alex was the Convener of the Management Committee of the Environmental Defender's Office WA (Inc) from December 2015 to November 2018. The EDO(WA) is now part of the EDO Australia: .

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;

* regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.

Funding overview

* 2021-22: CRC for Transformation in Mining Economies, Regulatory Mapping of Mine Closure Law & Policy in Australia

* 2015-16: Office of Water, Commonwealth Department of Environment, report with colleagues on the regulation of shale gas fracking on environment and water.
* 2014-15, International Mining for Development Centre, for a project on Mining and Water Law Reform for Ghana.
* 2013-16, Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities: Project A3.2 on Better Regulatory Frameworks for Water Sensitive Cities.
* 2009-14, Australian Research Council / National Water Commission, funding through the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training.
* Cotton Research and Development Corporation: 2010-2013.
* 2010-13, Cotton Research and Development Corporation.
* 2006-08, Water Resources Law Reform, Department of Water, Western Australia, consultancy contract won by competitive tender.
* 2005-06, The Department of Premier & Cabinet, WA, for a project on environmental water allocations.
* 2003, Report on Biodiversity Conservation Law Reform in Western Australia, for Conservation Commission of Western Australia, consultancy contract won by competitive tender.

Previous positions

Senior Sessional Member of the Western Australian State Administrative Tribunal, 2005-2017.
Adjunct Professor, Australian National University College of Law, 2011-2017.

Current projects

Project leader of Project 1.3, Regulatory Mapping of Mine Closure Law & Policy in Australia, March 2021 - December 2022, with the CRC for Transformations in Mining Economies with a team of co-researchers at the UWA Law School and Murdoch University:

In 2021 I commenced the 3rd edition of Water Resources Law (LexisNexis) with three co-authors.

Teaching overview

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 JD units Environmental Law and Administrative Law. He has formerly taught courses in Comparative Law, Constitutional Law and Advanced Legal Theory & Research Methodology.

Alex has also taught Water Resources Law in the graduate programs at:
* the Australian Centre for Environmental Law at the Australian National University College of Law, 2001-2015; and
* the TC Beirne School of Law, The University of Queensland, 2011, 2012 & 2014.


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 has been through national research centres: 

* the CRC for Transformations in Mining Economies - 2021-22;
* the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training: 2009-2016; and
* the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities; Project A3.2 on Better Regulatory Framework for Water Sensitive Cities: - 2012-2017.

Alex also does regular peer review for journals and the Australian Research Council.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research expertise keywords

  • Resources Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Environmental Law/ Pollution
  • Natural resources law
  • Environmental law
  • Water law


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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  • Willoughby Prize, 2015

    Gardner, Alex (Recipient) & Bennett, Michael (Recipient), 25 Jan 2017