Poh-Ling practiced law for several years in Kuala Lumpur before migrating to Australia. Since the mid 1990s her research has focused on water reform in Australia. It investigates real-life problems facing communities, stakeholders and water agencies and provides policy advice and outcomes on national, regional and local levels.
She adopts a transdisciplinary approach to research - working with others across law, bio-physical and social sciences, winning several research awards/fellowships and nationally competitive funding. Her successful research collaborations adopt culturally respectful research practices, vital in engaging with regional communities and Indigenous peoples. She has worked with many communities to improve water planning processes including a number of Indigenous communities in the NT, South Australia, and far northern and western Queensland.
Her public service includes providing water governance expertise on the Advisory Committee on Social, Economic and Environmental Sciences, Murray–Darling Basin Authority and advising the National Indigenous Cultural Flows Research Committee.
She’s on the editorial boards of the Journal of Water Law, and the Australasian Journal of Natural Resources Law and Policy.
- Water planning, which provides a framework for decision-making by governments, users and communities
- Indigenous engagement in water reform
- The interface between science, policy and implementation
- Land Law, Second Edition, Butterworths, 2002 (with E. Webb and D. Wright).
- Asian Legal Systems: Law, Society and Pluralism in East Asia, Butterworths, 1997.
- ‘Localism as an approach to community participation in Australian water planning’ H. Bjornlund et al (eds) Sustainable Irrigation and Drainage IV: Management, Technologies and Policies, 2012, p. 63-76.
- ‘Adaptation measures for water security in a changing climate: Policy, planning, law’, T. Bonyhady, J. McDonald and A. Macintosh (eds.), Climate Change Adaptation: Policy and Law, Federation Press, 2010.
- ‘Learning from Water Law Reform in Australia’, in P. Cullet, A. Gowlland-Gualtieri, R. Madhav and U. Ramanathan (eds.), Water Governance in Motion - Towards Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Water Laws, Cambridge University Press, 2010.
- 'Adaptation Measures for Water Security in a changing Climate: Policy, Planning and Law' in T. Bonyhady, A. Macintosh, and J. McDonald (eds.) Adaptation to Climate Change – Law and Policy, The Federation Press, Sydney, 2010.
- 'Learning from Water Law Reform in Australia', in P. Cullet, A. Gowlland-Gualtieri, R. Madhav and U. Ramanathan (eds.) Water Governance in Motion – Towards Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Water Laws, Cambridge University Press, 2010.
- 'From Malaya to Malaysia', in A. Harding and H. P. Lee (eds.) Constitutional Landmarks in Malaysia: the first 50 years 1957-2007, Lexis Nexis, 2007.
- 'A property framework for water markets: the role of law', in J. Bennett (ed.) The Evolution of Markets for Water: The Australian Experience, Edward Elgar, 2006.
- 'Prime suspect or potential witness? Paying the price for religious freedom: A non-Muslim perspective', in W. M. Ain (ed.) Public Law in Contemporary Malaysia, Addison Wesley Longman, 1999.
- 'Apostates, Deviants and Visions of Modernity: Contradictory Trends in Religious Freedom in Malaysia', in AES Tay (ed.) East Asia - Human Rights, Nation-building, Trade, Nomos, 1999.
- 'Native Title and Freshwater Resources', in B. Hourrigan and S. Young, Commercial Implications of Native Title, Federation Press, 1997.
- 'Joint Ventures and the Environment', in W. Duncan (ed.) Joint Venture Law in Australia, Federation Press, 1994 (with E. Webb).
- 'Mechanisms for Environmental Management' in The Environmental Protection Act 1994 of Queensland: A Contemporary Critique and Analysis, QUT, 1994.
- ‘Impossible Dreaming - Does Australia’s law and policy fulfil Indigenous Aspirations?’ (2013) Environmental and Planning Law Journal, vol. 30, p. 132-149 (with S. Jackson) Article available online.
- 'Deliberative Tools for Meeting the Challenges of Water Planning in Australia', (2012) Journal of Hydrology, vol 474, p. 2-10 (with K. Bowmer and J. Mackenzie) Article available online.
- 'The value and limitations of Participatory Action Research methodology', in (2012) Journal of Hydrology, vol. 474, p. 11-21 (with J. Mackenzie and S. Hoverman and C. Baldwin) Article available online.
- 'Tools to Enhance Public Participation and Confidence in the Development of the Howard East Aquifier Water Plan, Northern Territory', (2012) Journal of Hydrology, vol 474, p. 22-28 (with S. Jackson and S. Nolan) Article available online.
- 'South Australia's River Murray: Social and cultural values in water planning', in (2012) Journal of Hydrology, vol. 474, p. 29-37 (with Carla Mooney). Article available online.
- 'Water Planning in the Condamine Alluvium, Queensland: sharing information and eliciting views in a context of overallocation', (2012) Journal of Hydrology, vol. 474, p. 38-46 (with C. Baldwin, I. White and K. Burry) Article available online.
- 'Principles and Guidelines for Good Practice in Indigenous Engagement in Water Planning', (2012) Journal of Hydrology, vol. 474, p. 57-65 (with S. Jackson, C. Mooney, S. Hoverman and I. White) Article available online.
- 'Transparency and trade-offs in water planning', (2012) Journal of Hydrology, vol. 474, p. 66-73 (with C. Mooney, C. Baldwin and J. Mackenzie) Article available online.
- 'How scientific knowledge informs community understanding of groundwater', in (2012) Journal of Hydrology, vol. 474, p. 74-83 (with C. Baldwin, I. White, S. Hoverman and K. Burry) Article available online.
- 'Continued challenges in the policy and legal framework for collaborative water planning', in (2012) Journal of Hydrology, vol. 474, p. 84-91 (in K. H. Bowmer and C. Baldwin) Article available online.
- 'Old Knowledge in Freshwater', (2011) Australasian Journal of Natural Resources Law and Policy (with K. Cranney).
- 'Improving groundwater planning by needs analysis', (2009) Australian Water Association Journal, 73-78 (with D. A. George, C. L. Baldwin, J. Mackenzie and I. White).
- 'Legislating for Adequate Public Participation in Allocation Water in Australia', (2006) Water International, Vol. 31, 21-22.
- 'Developing Mechanisms for Resolving Water Disputes in Australia', (2005) Water, Vol. 32, Issue 7, 59-63.
- 'Sustainable Management of the Great Artesian Basin: An Analysis based on Law and Environmental Economics', (2004) Australasian Journal of Natural Resources Law and Policy, Vol. 9, 255-303.
- 'Water Law Reform in NSW - 1995 to 1999', (2003) Environmental and Planning Law Journal, Vol. 20, 165-194.
- 'A Historial Introduction to Water Law Reform in NSW - 1975 to 1994', (2002) Environmental and Planning Law Journal, Vol. 19, 445-460.
- 'The changing concepts of property in surface water resources in Australia', (2002) Water Law, Vol. 13, 269-275.
- 'Irrigators come first: A study of the conversion of existing allocations to Bulk Entitlements in the Goulburn and Murray catchments, Victoria', (2001) Environmental and Planning Law Journal, Vol. 18, 154-187.
- 'Conflict over water resources in Queensland: all eyes on the Lower Balonne', (2000) Environmental and Planning Law Journal, Vol. 17, 545-568.
- 'From Recognition to Implementation: The New Queensland Water Act 2000", (2000) Queensland Environmental Practice Reporter, Vol. 6, 212-225.
- 'Water licenses and property rights: the legal principles for compensation in Queensland', (1999) Water, 34-36.
- 'From licenses to TWEs: is there compensation in Queensland?' (1999) Environmental and Planning Law Journal, Vol. 16, 284-290.
- 'A note on the Water Infrastructure Task Force Final Report', (1997) Queensland Environmental Planning Reporter, Vol. 3, 132-133.
- 'Environmental protection (Interim) Amendment Regulation No 4) 1996', (1996) Queensland Environmental Practice Reporter, Vol. 2, 106-108.
- 'Recent Developments on the doctrine of Restraint on Alienation', (1995) Australian Property Law Bulletin, Vol. 9, 217-220.
- 'The Environmental Protection Act 1995 (Qld)', (1995) Queensland Environmental Practice Reporter, 31-34.
- 'Regulations under the Environmental Protection Act 1995 (Qld)', (1995) Queensland Environmental Practice Reporter, 31-34.
Reports from the Water Planning research projects
- ‘Developing alternative management models for Indigenous water plans and strategies in Australia’s north’, Final Report TRaCK NAWFA Social and Cultural Values Project: sub-project 3, 2012, 1-46 (with S. Hoverman and K. Delfrau).
- 'Collaborative Water Planning: Legal and Policy Analysis, Volume 3', Report to the Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge (TRaCK) program, Land and Water Australia, 2010, ISBN: 978-1-921544-43-9.
- 'Collaborative Water Planning: Groundwater Visualisation Tool Guide', Report to Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge (TRaCK) program, Land and Water Australia, 2010, ISBN 978-1-921-576-17-1 (with S. Nolan and M. Cox).
- 'Tools for Water Planning: Lessons, Gaps and Adoption. A synthesis study for Australian water planning', Waterlines report to National Water Commission , 2010, 1-382 (with C. Mooney, S. Hoverman, J. Mackenzie, K. Burry, C. Baldwin, K. Bowmer, M. Ayre and D. George).
- 'Policy Development for Water Planning in the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse, SA', Waterlines report to National Water Commission, 2010 (with C. Mooney).
- 'Condamine groundwater: From overallocation to sustainable extraction', Waterlines report to National Water Commission, 2010 (with I. White, K. Burry, C. Baldwin, D. George and J. Mackenzie).
- 'Planning for Tiwi Water Resources Future', Waterlines report to National Water Commission, 2010 (with S. Hoverman, M. Ayre and S. Jackson).
- 'Indigenous Freshwater Planning forum: Proceedings, Outcomes and Recommendations', Report to National Water Commission, 2009 (with S. Jackson and J. Altman).
- 'Collaborative Water Planning: Context and Practice, Literature Review, Volume 1', Report to the Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge (TRaCK) program, Land and Water Australia, 2008, ISBN: 978-1-921544-15-6 (with S. Jackson, P. Oliver, J. Mackenzie, W. Proctor and M. Ayre).
Conferences, seminars and presentations
- ‘Old challenges, New tools: Adaptive water planning in Australia, World Water Forum, Brazil, September 2012
- ‘Indigenous access to water in Australia: legal and policy limitations and the need for governance reform’, World Water Forum, Brazil, September 2012
- ‘Water Matters: a transdisciplinary approach to water planning ’IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, South Africa, July 2011
- ‘Developing fit-for-purpose tools to address complex social, ecological and economic issues in water planning, Australia’, UNESCO International workshop on Ecohydrology, Jakarta, Invited Speaker, February 2011
- ‘Legal issues for Water Governance’, Water Governance Research Initiative National Workshop, National Climate Change Adaptation Facility, Melbourne, Invited Speaker, November 2010
- ‘Water Planning and Climate Change Adaptation in Australia: Tools for addressing socio-cultural values in wetlands’, International Conference for Climate Adaptation for Deltas, Rotterdam, September 2010
- ‘Addressing overallocation in Australia’, World Bank, Washington DC, September 2010
- Addressing overallocation in Australia’ 2nd International Conference: Climate, Sustainability and Development in Semi-arid Regions, BRAZIL, Invited Speaker, August 2010,
- ‘Water Planning: Critical times need practical measures’ Showcasing Research in Water in Australia, AWA seminar, Invited Speaker, Brisbane, May 2010.
- ‘Critical times, practical measures’ National Water Commission, Science seminar, Canberra, Keynote, Feb 2010.
- ‘Impossible Dreaming: can Australia’s water allocation regime fulfill Indigenous rights and aspirations?’ National Indigenous Legal Conference, Adelaide, Invited Speaker, September 2009.
- ‘Collaborative Water Planning in Northern Australia’ Regional Planning Forum, Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Canberra, 27 November 2008
- ‘Adaptation measures for water security in a changing climate: Policy, planning, law’ Adapting to Climate Change Conference: Policy and Law, Canberra, 19 June 2008.
- ‘New approaches to Water Planning in Northern Australia’, Water Planners Forum, Melbourne, 6 June 2008
- ‘Public participation in water planning: lessons from the Tropical North’, Kimberley Water Forum, Broome, 13-14 March, 2008.
- Aspects of IWRM: The Australian experience, National Seminar on Integrated River Basin Management, 2-5 July 2007, Langkawi Malaysia.
- How do markets function in droughts and other hard questions: Learning from Law reform in Australia, Legal Aspects of Water Sector Reforms Workshop organised by the International Environmental Law Research Centre, Geneva, 20-21 April 2007.
- Legal institutions for Integrated Water Management in Australia, seminars presented in Research Institute of Environmental Law, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China and Law School, Hua Zhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China, May 2006.
- 'A review of the legal basis for Indigenous access to water', A report prepared for the National Water Commission for the Indigenous Water Forum, 2009.
- 'Collaborative Water Planning: A Legal and Policy Analysis', Report to the Tropical Rivers and Costal Knowledge (TRaCK) program, Land & Water Australia, 2008.
- 'Substance and Degree: the debate over 'water rights' in NSW', QUT, 2003.
- 'Legal Issues Relating to Water Use, Issue Paper No. 1, Murray-Darling Commission Project MP2002', Report to the Murrary-Darling Basin Commission, 2002.
- 'Legal Nature of Water rights in NSW', Report to the NSW Department of Land and Water Conservation, 2002.