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Professor Alex Gardner

University of Western Australia 


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.

Community legal rights in mine closure planning; a comparative analysis of three Australian States
Authors:  Alex Gardner and Laura Hamblin
Presenter: Alex Gardner 

Rigorously regulated mine rehabilitation and closure planning (hereafter, ‘mine closure planning’) is central to a future of responsibly managed mine closure. Mine closure planning needs to balance paradoxical principles underpinning the key regulatory goals of safe, non-polluting and sustainable post mine land use.


Mine closure planning should be part of the initial mining proposal, progressive, effective and consultative.


The regulation of mine closure planning also needs to be adaptable, as the life of a mine often spans several decades. Yet adaptability can be at the expense of consistency and legal enforceability. Ultimately, the regulatory framework needs to balance the interests of local communities, government bodies and industry stakeholders to achieve a social transition to post-mine land use with minimal residual risks.

This paper presents a comparative analysis of the regulation of mine closure planning through the operation of mineral resources, environmental and planning law across three Australian States with unique mining industries. It highlights the regulatory evolution and notes, especially, how each State defines rights of community consultation in that planning process, proposing future research to consider what effective community engagement might entail.

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