About the Trust

The Peter Cullen Trust works with scientists, policy makers and political leaders to bridge science, people and the environment through funding and facilitating programs that contribute to improved rural and urban water management in Australia.

Our Foundation

The Trust was founded on the philosophy that, to improve Australia’s water and environmental management, we need to enhance the link between good science and effective policy making. This requires effective leadership skills, particularly around communicating in ways that bring science to life and make it relevant for politicians and policy makers. It also requires respectful, informed and meaningful collaboration which is the key to responsible and sustainable water management, now and in the future.

The late Professor Peter Cullen AO was a water scientist with a superb capacity to synthesise and communicate complex ideas in a simple, clear way to local communities, policy makers and politicians. Peter made an enormous contribution to the management of water resources in Australia and was instrumental in elevating the need for water reform to a topic of national debate. He was highly influential in Australian government decisions to invest at unprecedented levels in the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, the National Water Initiative, and the National Plan for Water Security. The Trust is a registered charity and a Deductible Gift Recipient.

Trust Governance

The Peter Cullen Trust is a registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission. The trustee is Peter Cullen Water and Environment Ltd which is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of leaders in the water and environment sector and a select number of Fellows. Details on the Board members and staff can be found here. The Trust publishes an Annual Review. Click here for details.

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Our Strategic Intent

The Trust aims to respect the legacy of Peter Cullen by working towards our Strategic Goals:


Strengthen the understanding between science, policy and stakeholders in management of water and environment; Support researchers and professionals who can ‘speak for the rivers’ with clarity and credibility


Promote informed exchange and debate on important water and environmental management issues;


Build links between the scientific and political communities in order to promote effective management of our river systems


Build capacity in science and policy for water and environmental management

How we deliver

The Trust collaborates with sponsoring organisations to identify emerging leaders to participate in the Trust’s programs. As ‘sponsors’, these organisations fully-fund their employee’s participation in the leadership program.

The Trust also offers funded scholarships to support candidates who may otherwise be unable to participate, including indigenous candidates, individuals from the community and NFP sectors, and to support gender equality across the Trust’s programs.

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“It’s been transformational; you can’t go back to how you were”.