Bridging Issue #49

“Never waste a crisis”. Wise words. Our Chair, the Hon Karlene Maywald, adds a prerequisite: “be prepared, have a visionary plan”. Ensure you seize the right opportunity in a crisis. For an organisation, being prepared includes having a strategic succession plan and investing in leaders who are ready for the opportunities that future crises will present.

1. From the Chief Executive Officer

Our transformational leadership program now has over 230 graduates. Fellows of the Trust. A critical part of the Trust’s work is the ongoing investment in the Fellows leadership journey. Guided by the Fellows Committee and supported by Lesley Ryall, our Fellows Coordinator, we are challenging Fellows to be courageous in their leadership learning. Be prepared for the opportunity.

Over the last three months, we have seen three areas, that arguably are a crisis, where leadership from our Fellows is critical.

Firstly, the State of the Environment Report released by Minister Plibersek on 19 July, with an address to the National Press Club attended by Friends and Fellows. This report holds a mirror up to the degradation our environment has experienced and is continuing to suffer. It is sobering. A crisis. Many Fellows and Friends were involved in delivering the science for this report and preparing the report itself. We look forward to hearing more in future about their leadership reflections from this experience.

Secondly, access to water and sanitation in regional, rural and remote Australia. A crisis impacting lives, livelihoods and liveability in communities, yet an issue mostly overlooked so far in Australia’s reporting on progress under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, released on 28 July, and against the Sustainable Development Goals. As reported in this edition of Bridging by Fellows who attended, the Australian Water Association and Water Services Association “Voices for the Bush” gathering in Alice Springs in August, started a national conversation on codesign with communities of policy, financial, technical and capacity solutions. It was heartening to see the commitment to finding solutions, all requiring leadership. Seizing the opportunity for healthier, more productive and resilient communities.

Thirdly, a commitment by the newly elected Federal Government to giving Voice to the Uluru Statement. The leadership of Fellows and Friends in supporting the adoption of the statement, and the principles of Closing the Gap, has been inspirational. The Trust has embarked on our own Reconciliation Action Plan, which is primarily in how we prepare, support, and challenge our Fellows to each make their own contribution as leaders.

Be prepared to make your leadership contribution impactful.

2. Programs Update

By PCT Programs Director, Dr Bek Christensen

Take seven strangers, add some corn thins, peanut butter, copious amounts of red dirt, and ten days in the Kimberley, and you’ve got yourself a LEADERSHIP TRANSFORMATION!

What am I talking about? The Kimberley Leadership Adventure, which is designed and delivered by our partners at Outback Initiatives. I was privileged to be a participant on this year’s program. It gave me an opportunity to experience and understand the process behind our programs from the participant’s perspective, prior to leading our Women in Water Program starting in September. The Program was personally transformative for me, as any of our Fellows will understand. You’ll also understand that I can’t say more than that publicly – what happens on the Program stays on the Program!

The obligatory end of Program ‘we survived’ photo (Bek is third from left).

Women in Water 2022

At the time you’re reading this, I will be away on Session 1 of this year’s Women in Water Leadership Program. We have 14 women from around the country this year with all States and Territories represented except one.

This will be the first PCT Program on which Leith Boully isn’t a Program Director. It’s an understatement to describe that as a significant milestone in the life of the Trust. Leith’s substantial contribution to the Trust, our Programs, and the lives of our Fellows, has been recognised with the first Honorary Life Membership of the Trust.

I admit I have felt intimidated by the prospect of picking up where Leith has left off.  These are big shoes to fill, and a ‘fierce and inscrutable’* reputation to follow (*thanks to an unnamed Fellow for that description of Leith’s style!). In taking up this challenge, I extend immense personal thanks to Leith for her trust in me, and the time shared with me over the last year as part of the transition of program leadership.

The magic happens outside our comfort zones, and I firmly believe in the work that we do at PCT and look forward to supporting leaders across our water and environment sectors.

I look forward to seeing many of you in person at our November events in Canberra!

2023 Science to Policy Leadership Program – Applications Open

A friendly reminder that applications for the 2023 Science to Policy Leadership Program are open until 16 October.  PCT Fellows and Friends are encouraged to share this opportunity within your networks.  For more information and How To Apply – click HERE.

Young Utility Leaders 2021/22 and 2022/23

Our partnership with Water Services Association of Australia delivered five new Young Utility Leaders in 2022, and we welcome the 2022/23 cohort into this important leadership program.

Young Utility Leaders – 2022/23 Cohort (Image courtesy Water Services Association of Australia)

3. Upcoming PCT Events and Opportunities

Graduation Week – 16-18 November 2022

The Trust is delighted to offer Graduation Week events FREE for Fellows and also has funds set aside to assist with the travel costs of regional and interstate Fellows. If you wish to apply for remote travel assistance to attend, please contact the Trust office by email

16 November

2021 Women in Water Reconnect Reflect Refresh (RRR)

Fellows from the 2021 Women in Water Leadership Program are invited to join us for their post-program RRR.  These post-program workshops are unique to the PCT and allow Fellows to reconnect with each other (always fun), reflect on their learnings post-program (always insightful) and refresh their leadership knowledge (always invaluable). Fellows from the 2021 Women in Water cohort should pencil in the date and look out for further information at the end of September. 

10.00am – 4.00pm
Becker Room, Shine Dome

2022 Peter Cullen Lecture

This will be the first Peter Cullen Lecture since 2019, when we gathered to hear the compelling address by 2011 Fellow Dr Anne Poelina “The Rivers are Talking. Is Anybody Listening?”. 

6.00 – 8.00pm
Details will follow later in September
17 November

Fellows Professional Development Day

Gather in our great Australian Capital to ignite the Fellowship – engage, share and connect, then cheer on and challenge the new graduates.

The details are still being finalised but the focus of Fellows PD Day will be:
  • Breaking the mould in the way you think to achieve more positive outcomes – leadership
  • Re-engaging and re-energising with your fellow fellows (together we achieve more)
Hold the date!  It is going to be everything we can make it and a bit more. Details including booking links via email by the end of September.

10.00am – 4.00 pm

2022 Women in Water Leadership Program Graduation Ceremony

Join us for the Graduation of the Peter Cullen Trust’s 2022 Women in Water Leadership Program Fellows. This is the quintessential event in the PCT November events calendar, and we would love to see as many Fellows as possible in attendance. You know how hard they have worked to get there so come and listen, challenge and encourage and give a warm PCT welcome to our graduating Fellows.  Gather with the PCT Board, Fellows, Friends and invited VIPs for drinks and canapes after the formal presentation.  All covered by the PCT – what could be better? Don’t miss it, mark the date and stand by for booking links and further information on the keynote address.

Jaeger Room, Shine Dome
18 November

Fellows Networking Breakfast

The Fellows Networking Breakfast is a favourite on the PCT calendar, aimed at bringing Fellows together to provide a warm welcome to our newest Fellows following their graduation.  Breakfast is on us, however places are limited to 40 for this popular get together, so you will need to jump in fast to secure your seat at the table. Pencil in the date. Further information and booking links will be sent at the end of September.

Jaeger Room, Shine Dome

Lunch with a Leader

Your City Leads continue to deliver great conversations at both local gatherings and to our National Network via Zoom.

Look for details via email and social media, or seek further information, newly listed events and booking opportunities on the PCT Website

28 October – 12.00 – 2.00pm, Perth
Debbie Silvester-Dean

PCT Mentoring Program

The Trust offers a Friends-to-Fellows mentoring program for Fellows seeking support for their ongoing leadership development. If you are a PCT Friend who would like to mentor a Fellow, or if you are a Fellow who would like a mentor, please fill out the Expression of Interest which is downloadable from the PCT website

4. PCT Updates

Update from the Fellows Committee

Who’s Who in ‘22

The PCT Fellows Committee exists to:

  • Support the Fellows Network, its vision and objectives
  • Coordinate, facilitate and support the activities of the Fellows Network
  • Support and encourage Fellows and the Trust to develop and pursue ideas for events or initiatives
  • Coordinate annual activities on behalf of the Fellows Network

Do you know Who’s Who in your Fellows Committee in 2022?  Meet and connect with the Fellows who are at the helm this year via our “Who’s Who in ‘22”, downloadable HERE.

Strategic Planning Day – 3 August 2022

By PCT Fellows Trent Wallis (2017) and Monique White (2015)

With a renewed focus following the last two years of Covid, your Fellows Committee has been active in planning Fellows Network events and activities for the year ahead.

On the back of the recent “Looking back, looking forward: Network futures” session at the great Professional Day in May, the Fellows Committee got together for a day long strategic planning session in August to map out the year ahead.

If you want to know more about the Fellows Committee, its members and what we have planned for the Fellows Network, we encourage you to read the “Who’s Who in ‘22” flyer.

Read more

Nominations for Ripple Award now Open

Established in 2016 and offered annually, the Ripple Award recognises a Fellow for their outstanding contribution to the objectives of the Peter Cullen Trust and the Fellows Network.  This contribution will be evidenced through their work and engagement within the Trust itself and/or the broader water sector.

Nominations are of Fellows by Fellows and assessment of nominees is made by the Fellows Committee.  The winner will be presented at the 2022 Graduation Event in Canberra on 17 November.

Previous Winners:

  • 2021:  Kaye Cavanagh, Fellow 2011
  • 2019:  Chris Arnott, Fellow 2010
  • 2018:  Kirsten Shelley, Fellow 2011
  • 2017:  Sarina Loo, Fellow 2010
  • 2016:  Susie Williams, Fellow 2011

NB: Due to the interruptions caused by the global pandemic, no Award was made in 2020.

Please send your nomination to by COB Wednesday 5 October with a brief rationale about why your nominee is deserving of recognition.

2019 Ripple Award presented to Chris Arnott (2010).

Lunch with a Leader – Phil Duncan, Chair, Murray-Darling Basin Community Committee

By Meg Humphrys, PCT Fellow 2022 and Phil Duncan
27 July 2022

Phil Duncan was the guest speaker at our July Lunch with a Leader

On 27 July 2022, Fellows and Friends of the Peter Cullen Trust came together from across Australia and joined an online Lunch with a Leader, with the incredible Phil Duncan.

Phil is a Gomeroi man from Moree who has spent decades working with Indigenous leaders and government to improve the lives of First Nations People. Across various roles, Phil provides high-level policy advice and leadership to Indigenous representative organisations, governments, universities and key interest groups. Phil joined the MDBA Basin Community Committee in August 2018 and was appointed its Chair in January 2020. Phil also sits on the board of the NSW Natural Resources Access Regulator. Phil was recently awarded an honorary Doctorate with Griffith University and recently presented on the global stage alongside other indigenous leaders of the Asia Pacific region over World Water Week. What an honour to have Phil join us for this incredibly important discussion on Indigenous knowledges and how this can work alongside conventional science for better water policy and outcomes.

Continue to read more and for the link to the session recording

Lunch With a Leader – Anthony Boxshall, Principal and Founder, Science into Action

By Alanna Wright, PCT Fellow (2021)
16 August 2022

Anthony Boxshall shares his leadership journey at our August Lunch with a Leader.

A mid-winter’s August Lunch with a Leader event Melbourne style saw the PCT Fellows across Australia stay inside for the opportunity to head online for a chat with Anthony Boxshall.  Hosted by recently inducted fellow Karen White, Anthony gave us a unique insight into his non-linear journey through his career and some of the lessons he’s had along the way from academia, governance, private consultancy and his hobby on radio for 28 years (26 years on RRR, rock on!) and all of the war stories that we could fit into a lunchtime session.

A self-proclaimed ‘Recovering Academic’, Anthony talked us through his career comparing it to playing jazz – feels like there’s no framework and no plan, but there are core themes and you test it out, different jobs like music sets to see what works, and you keep the skills you learn as you go, always playing to your strengths.

The core themes for Anthony were always Science, Communication, Engagement, Public Good and the set that he kept along the way was Changing Things.

Continue to read more and for the link to the session recording

South Australian Delegation to Rajasthan

A recent Times of India report spotted PCT Chairperson and South Australia’s water ambassador, the Hon Karlene Maywald, leading a delegation to Rajasthan looking at cooperation on the use of modern technology in groundwater management and water purification. 

Read more

Where is all the Water?

Dr Diana Day, Friend of the Trust, has been appointed to the Board of the NSW Smart Sensing Network [NSSN] .

The NSSN is an activator of partnerships in innovation and solutions in research translation across the fields of environment, water, agriculture, energy, health and space.

Read more

PCT having a World-Wide Impact at World Water Week.

The Hon Karlene Maywald (Chairperson, Peter Cullen Trust) and Michelle Campbell (PCT Fellow, 2021) presented at World Water Week in Stockholm on September 1st – supported by Australian Water Partnership.

Community Voices session at World Water week. 

The Peter Cullen Trust contingent shared a set of tried and tested stakeholder engagement principles known as Community Voices, developed by PCT hall-of-fame founder Leith Boully, PCT Chairperson Karlene Maywald and supported by PCT CEO Darryl Day and Fellow Michelle Campbell.

Read more

Vale Mark Pascoe

Professor Mark Pascoe passed suddenly on Saturday, 13 August.

A legend in the Australian and International water sector, Mark was a long-time Friend of the Peter Cullen Trust.  Mark was nominated by the Board on 19 October 2010 as one of 50 Friends who established the Trust’s Friends network in that year.

Mark Pascoe and Darryl Day, Ozwater May 2022. 

A Memorial Service in Brisbane on 24 August was attended by nearly 300 people, with another 150 online. All had their own story of Mark’s leadership, and influence in their lives.

Read more

Friends of the Trust

Influential leaders and thinkers in water and environment who have contributed significantly to water and environmental science, policy and/or management through their careers or personal lives may be invited to become “Friends of the Peter Cullen Trust”.  The Friends are a circle of influence, willing to lend their voices and their standing in support of the Trust’s purposes and principles and prepared to promote and otherwise assist the work of the Trust.  The list of current Friends of the Trust can be found HERE

Introducing our newest Friends

Welcome to Michelle Andrews

Michelle Andrews, Friend of the Trust

Michelle Andrews is an executive leader and environmental scientist with 30 years’ experience in the public sector currently in the role of Director General, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

Michelle has previously led the Department of Communities and reformed the organisation’s governance and integrity systems following a major fraud and corruption incident.

Michelle has held executive roles within the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, State Development and the former Department of Mines and Petroleum, where she focused on major projects, resource development policy and strengthening relationships across government, industry and the community.

She supports stronger partnerships with Aboriginal organisations and prioritises the development of individual leaders to create shared leadership capabilities across the public sector.

Read more

Welcome to Rosie Wheen

Rosie Wheen, Friend of the Trust

There are three threads that run through Rosie and her way of being no matter where you encounter her in the world – compassion, courage, and service. 

Her commitment to service and thirst for adventure saw Rosie begin her career in education. With a love of languages and other cultures, she jumped at an opportunity to volunteer at a school in Indonesia. This formative experience as a young person had a big impact on Rosie – the school was resource poor with no electricity, running water or teaching resources but rich in so many other ways. At many points in her life, Rosie can point to examples like this where she has had the courage to seize opportunities that take her out of her comfort zone and help her to grow personally and professionally. 

Her openness to new opportunities propelled Rosie into International Development. After six years in Indonesia, she joined WaterAid Australia at its inception in 2004 and, after a significant period as Director of International Programs, became Chief Executive in 2016. Rosie also serves the sector as Vice President of the peak body, the Australian Council for International Development. 

Read more

5. Conferences and Seminars

Voices for the Bush Conference – Alice Springs, August 2022

By Eric Vanweydeveld, PCT Fellow (2022)

Three PCT Fellows, Simone Stewart (2021), Dan Mollison (2022) and Eric Vanweydeveld (2022), and Trust CEO Darryl Day attended the inaugural Voices for the Bush conference in Alice Springs in August 2022. The conference was organised by the Australian Water Association and the Water Services Association of Australia and focussed on Indigenous communities’ water supplies.

The conference was an opportunity to hear of the challenges faced in communities where information on their plight in accessing safe and secure water is not recorded or reported due to size or geographic location.

Read more

IAL Conference – International irrigation event, Adelaide, 5-7 October 2022

By Richard McLoughlin, Friend of the Trust

The Irrigation Australia International Conference and Exhibition is being held from 5 to 7 October in Adelaide. The conference is running concurrently with the 24th International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage Congress. This is the first time in its 70-year history that the ICID Congress will be held in the Southern Hemisphere, so this truly is a unique opportunity for Australians to hear from international experts in the water industry.

Read more

6. Awards and Appointments

Fellows and Friends of PCT are widely acknowledged for their individual achievements on many fronts, including:

International recognition for PCT Board Director, Andrew Campbell

Andrew Campbell’s recent award from the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is well-deserved recognition for his visionary leadership of Australia’s food and water diplomacy.  In his LinkedIn post, Andrew wrote:  Honoured and humbled to be awarded a medal for promoting 🇻🇳🤝🇦🇺 relations from the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, along with Australian Ambassador Robyn Mudie. Great teams make the boss look good!

PCT Director Andrew Campbell

Dr Suzanne Long – the finals of the Eureka Prizes in the Prize for Applied Environmental Research

2011 PCT Fellow Dr Suzanne Long is part of a team that has made it to the finals of the Eureka Prizes in the Prize for Applied Environmental Research

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef faces many threats, including outbreaks of the coral-eating Crown of Thorns Starfish. In a world first, this team, brought together by the National Environmental Science Program, successfully applied principles of land-based Integrated Pest Management to effectively control this marine pest. On-water implementation of their research is already successfully defending live coral on the Reef.

PCT Friend David Karoly joins the Climate Council

Professor David Karoly is internationally recognised for his expertise in climate change science and climate variability. David was Leader of the Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub in the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program, based in CSIRO, from 2018 to June 2021. The Climate Council recently welcomed David as a Climate Councillor where his expertise will continue to be put to good use.

7. Articles and Publications

See links below to recent publications by PCT Fellows and Friends

We’re on life support out here: the forgotten Australians

Kate McBride (PCT Fellow, 2022)

This article by PCT Fellow and fifth-generation farmer, Kate McBride, first appeared in The Australian in June 2022.  It is reproduced here with Kate’s permission.

Kate McBride, PCT Fellow 2022 and fifth-generation farmer

Many people may be considering a move to the bush since Covid, but what’ll be there for you?

When I was on the ABC’s Q&A panel in April I said, “whoever gets in at the next election, we need to see some investment [in regional Australia] because we’re on life support out here.”

Read more

Leading the One Basin CRC

Professor Michael Stewardson in profile

This interview with Professor Michael Stewardson, interim CEO of the One Basin CRC, profiles this collaborative, industry-engaged researcher who now leads the largest-of-its-kind CRC collaboration in the Murray-Darling Basin.

The Trust will be partnering with One Basin to deliver leadership and communication programs for CRC partners.

Science and technology are transforming water management at an unprecedented pace

Dr Jane Coram, PCT Friend and Land and Water Director, CSIRO

PCT Friend, Dr Jane Coram, recently spoke at the UN’s Dushanbe Water Conference.  Read her address here –

Closing the Gap on water quality

Eric Vanweydeveld (PCT Fellow, 2022)

This ABC article on water quality features the work of PCT Fellow Eric Vanweydeveld in an important report from the Water Services Association of Australia.

The report, Closing the ‘Water for People and Communities’ Gap, was released by WSAA at the Voices for the Bush Conference (covered elsewhere in this issue).

Queensland Graziers rounding up on enhanced biodiversity using Environmental Accounting

Peter Cosier, Chairman, Accounting for Nature and Friend of the Trust

Queensland grazing company Goondicum Pastoral Co has received certification for its first Environmental Account, measuring the health of its natural capital under the globally leading Accounting for Nature Framework. 

Goondicum Pastoral Co is the first Australian family-owned grazing company to achieve a self-verified tier two Environmental Account using the Accounting for Nature Framework.

Read more

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