Poh-Ling practiced law for several years in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 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. One of her main life motivations is to train water professionals to understand the process of decision- making and to undertake successful policy reform.