“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!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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 5.30-8.30pm
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 7.00-9.00am
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 http://www.petercullentrust.org.au/mentoring/
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.
We covered a range of issues from lifting the profile of the network to developing an improved portal/platform where Fellows can connect, as well as closer engagement between the Fellows Committee and the PCT Board.
We also had a great discussion on sharpening the future focus of the network, the relative weight of connection versus content, and the important continued emphasis on leadership lessons, failures and successes.
As a result of this session, we are busy planning the following projects for the year ahead:
Ongoing Leading and Learning
Fellows Annual Professional Development Day – Canberra, November 2022
Biennial major event (e.g. WateRevolutions)
Supporting the City Leads “Lunch with a Leader” series
Raising the Profile
Engagement of the Fellows Committee (FC) with the PCT Board
Supporting and informing the Trust’s mentoring program.
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.
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 email@example.com by COB Wednesday 5 October with a brief rationale about why your nominee is deserving of recognition.
Lunch with a Leader – Phil Duncan, Chair, Murray-Darling Basin Community Committee
By Meg Humphrys, PCT Fellow 2022 and Phil Duncan 27 July 2022
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.
Introduced by Sean Kelly, a 2018 PCT Fellow, the session began with an acknowledgement of country and of the relationships held with participants attending the session. In true Phil Duncan style, Phil challenged us to think through a cultural lens, use committal language in our workplaces and honour the past, get up and stand up, with and for Aboriginal people.
‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ was a key theme throughout the presentation, strengthening the message for self-determination and involvement of Aboriginal people in the decision-making process and the critically important task of healing country. Phil generously provided clear examples of how Aboriginal people are the first scientists, the oldest living culture in the world, have and continue to protect sites of cultural significance, have adapted to changing landscapes and flow regimes, and have used the constellations/sky country for navigation and timing for harvesting food sources. Phil identifies that Indigenous Cultural Science can, and in fact has been demonstrated to co-exist with Western Science, and that Indigenous culture inherently understands complexity and systems thinking by its very nature.
A powerful image of river systems across Australia was shown, where Phil described how the Darling system can be thought of as the ‘lungs’ and the Murray system, the ‘kidneys’, all vital organs that function in unison for the living being, the sacred Mother Earth. Phil identified key issues for the Murray Darling Basin system, that require greater fish passage, noting <10% of fish stocks remain since colonisation.
Phil acknowledged the challenges for Aboriginal people to continue their Lore as Custodians for the land, when facing such high levels of disadvantage. Phil acknowledged how generous Aboriginal people have been in sharing their knowledge, and challenged us to think about giving back, of reciprocity. Phil mentioned key pieces of legislation, including the United Nations Declaration of Rights for Indigenous Peoples, the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 and the Native Title Act as enablers for change, and the need for reform within the Water Act. Phil generously shared a framework to use in our projects including following Traditional Owner Protocols, Respect, Trust, Honesty, Inclusiveness, Integrity and Strong Values and shared how he has demonstrated these behaviours when working with Traditional Owners on a project.
The Q&A session kicked off with a discussion around how cultural flows can be managed within unregulated streams, noting the high attention on regulated systems. Phil noted an unregulated system should be managed no differently from a regulated system, ensuring there are allocations for cultural flow to maintain water connectivity and health. The issue was raised around the high level of time demands on Traditional Owners for engagement on projects and the need to invest in young Aboriginal people to reduce this burden. The requirement for cultural safety when Aboriginal people leave their communities was acknowledged and the support needed for them to return to country when they need to without explanation.
Reforms needed to deliver on the Murray Darling Basin plan were discussed, where wider engagement and integration were noted as an opportunity and shifting planning cycles beyond ten years to 30 – 50 years and beyond. Phil warned of concerns in the use of a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) as a tick box exercise, and that inclusion of legal responsibility should not be included in RAPs. Phil spoke of the opportunity for an entire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander PCT cohort, that could be run in conjunction with the regular science-to-policy PCT program and the opportunities for knowledge sharing that could occur. The question of what success would look like to Phil Duncan in this space was asked, and it was noted that currently women’s knowledges are missing and lacking voice. Phil further noted, that to understand success on the outside we need to have success on the inside. External success was described as more Aboriginal people involved in projects with genuine co-design from a whole of community perspective, noting that it would not be visible for 25 years, that success is not time critical, encouraging us to look internally and seek genuine partnerships with Traditional Owners and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the first instance. This was further discussed from a research perspective, looking to nurture and support young Aboriginal people in the sciences. Finally, the Q&A was wrapped up with a discussion on leadership, Phil noted he doesn’t see himself as a ‘leader’, but he identifies a collective ‘us’ – the collective change we can make together.
I encourage everyone to watch the recorded part of this session(Passcode Y@b$t6tG), as there were far too many gems to cover here in the written word, I can only say it was, as it always is, an absolute honour and privilege to hear Phil Duncan speak. His generosity to share and challenge us, his commitment to improving the lives of First Nations People and to healing country are incredible. So take every opportunity to do this, and if it’s on country – all the better!
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
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.
Part of the recipe for Anthony’s incredible success is the four principles to communicate science to people:
Give the punchline up first – if people are interested, they will hang on to hear the rest
Tell the story, don’t sell the story – Just tell a simple story about your science. If you sound like you’re selling something it brings different values to the listener.
Use common language, bring people in – if you want to talk to people, use their language, they want to understand what you are saying.
Maintain your credibility – make sure the science is behind what you are saying, no matter what the story.
It was wonderful to hear about Anthony’s experiences across different roles, however the story that struck a chord with the assembled audience was around collaboration and co-design in a small community affected by poor air quality and making a commitment upfront to redesign an air monitoring network.
Described as the new democracy, co-design was the commitment made from the government organisation he worked for at the time. This filled an expectation from the community to discuss with them a complex situation full of emotion, review options and collectively reach a decision. It’s not a venture which should be taken lightly with any community and it was an experience that had Anthony realise that the investment in time, effort, energy and planning up front with the community, followed by the actual workshops led to better outcomes on the ground, but more importantly, trust from a community.
Anthony’s parting wisdom, very much in the spirit of PCT – we need to understand ourselves, how we lead and fit a career to match our strengths.
If you missed the online session with Anthony, you can see the recording HERE – you will need the Passcode: ?xw37@ND to access the recording.
To find out more about what Anthony is up to on the weekends, listen to Radio Marinara on RRR app through podcasts or check out his websites to find out more about science impact, and co-design and collaboration.
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.
Karlene noted that the geographical conditions of the two locations are somewhat similar, enabling the sharing of technical support. She also encouraged Rajasthan to take advantage of new research and technologies being developed under the Australia India Water Centre, which engages with 17 leading technical institutes from India and nine from Australia.
PCT Fellow (2021) Simone Stewart was also part of the delegation.
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.
In August the NSSN facilitated an invitation-only workshop on Smart Sensing for Flooding Co-Design in response to the NSW Floods including stakeholders from governments, industry, universities and the broader community.
NSSN sensor research collaborations have included avoiding mass fish kills through using water sensors, quantum sensor use to manage and monitor aquifers in real time and drone seeding to revolutionise ecological restoration.
In December 2021, NSSN published a report Where is all the water? Written by major academic and government partners, the report reviews gaps and discrepancies in the data on water assets and provides a research platform for integrating different types of sensors and data analytics for modelling, prediction and decision making.
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.
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.
As we know, all good science to policy communication needs to be engaging. To achieve this, the Community Voices session put the audience into a real-life mini experience of preparing for and negotiating for their country at the Delta River Commission after examining six community engagement principles that emerged from a deep dive investigation into Australia’s water reform journey. These principles acknowledge the high potential for conflict among stakeholders when attempting to manage water sustainably and address the safeguards needed to create an environment where all voices can be heard.
The Community Voices Summary Document can be downloaded HERE.
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.
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.
Mark had a distinguished career which began with Brisbane City Council in 1973. Always a visionary leader, he led the then innovative new program for “Integrated Urban Water Management”. Today, this is a mainstream approach for many utilities.
In 2002 Mark ventured to London taking up the role of Deputy Director, International Water Association. Paul Reiter, IWA Executive Director, 2002-2012, said that:
“Mark was an integral part of the team that developed IWA after the merger of IWSA and IAWQ. His breadth of knowledge about all the elements of integrated urban water management was complemented by his understanding of the diverse elements of IWA’s membership which contributed greatly to developing a long-term vision for IWA. The generosity of Mark’s spirit and personality brought so much to the newly emergent IWA team as well as to so many of the members.”
Mark returned to Australia in 2005 and as CEO developed the International WaterCentre as a leading educational and leadership development organisation. In addition, Mark held numerous board and advisory roles for several water businesses and research institutions. This included managerial positions for Local and State Governments and board roles for organisations such as the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence, Southeast Queensland (Gold Coast) Desalination Company, Western Corridor Recycled Water and Healthy Waterways.
In April this year Mark was elected as Governing Council Chair of the Asia Pacific Water Council. He saw great opportunities in Australia having the Chair of the Council. Still the visionary, Mark was excited by the opportunity.
Tom Mollenkopf, the President of the IWA, and previous CEO of the Trust, paid tribute to Mark and his work there, saying:
“Mark was a great friend, an inspirational leader in the water sector, and a wonderful human being. He served the International Water Association and the global water community with distinction. Amongst his many honours he was an IWA Fellow who brought a great intellect and humanity to international programmes.”
Mark regularly engaged with the Trust in exploring new opportunities for collaboration with the International WaterCentre. CEO Darryl Day shared that:
“Mark was an inspirational leader, mentor and friend to the global water community. His vision, strategic intervention and courage changed the policy of governments and aspirations of organisations, but his greatest contribution is the friendship extended to everyone he met. Mark’s capacity to connect and support his extensive network, with empathy and friendship, is unrivalled. Mark’s passion was investing in water leaders, who will continue his legacy for generations. He was taken far too young.”
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 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.
In accepting the invitation to be a Friend of the Peter Cullen Trust, Michelle expressed her admiration for the enormous contribution Peter made to our understanding of our environment, thriving communities, and the importance of strong leaders shaping good policy and law across Australia.
Michelle also noted that the mission of the Trust – to bridge science, people and the environment – strongly aligns with her work and her personal approach to leadership.
When she has personal time out, Michelle is a keen walker and likes nothing better than pulling on a backpack and hiking trails in our great Western state.
Welcome to Rosie Wheen
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.
She has remained grounded in a focus on human rights, gender equality and universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene. As we face into some of the most challenging times and address the water, sanitation and hygiene crisis Rosie is leading work across WaterAid on innovation which at its core she thinks of as change that adds value. She loves the possibility created by the intersection of her passion for diversity and inclusion with innovation.
As a leader fuelled by compassion, courage and service Rosie is well known for creating space for others to blossom in all aspects of her life. Leaning into her feminist practice of leader Rosie working with her Board and leadership team she is leading WaterAid through ongoing transformative processes so that we reflect the gender just and socially just world we strive to see externally.
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.
The concerns are confronting in many Indigenous communities, especially concerns about water quality, scarcity, climate change and water governance. The conference also provided a platform to listen to members of communities, reflect deeply about the issues and highlight the importance of collaboration across organisations and geographies in working through these complex challenges.
PCT Fellow Simone Stewart provided an overview of the situation in South Australia and presented a paper “Supplying Water to Remote Communities – Multiple Problems Require Varied Solutions” which aimed to show the current status of the SA Aboriginal communities’ water supplies and to explain the complexity regarding water supply arrangements.
PCT Fellow Eric Vanweydeveld presented his work on a national review which was commissioned by the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA). The review aims to provide some clarity around the management of water services in remote Australia, and more specifically in relation to the Indigenous communities in each state and territory. WSAA is collaborating with the Productivity Commission, the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) and Infrastructure Australia on this topic. However, the review is expected to serve a broader purpose for the industry overall in providing clarity on these matters.
A preliminary report has been published by WSAA. The final review is expected to be released in November 2022.
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.
A single registration fee enables you to attend sessions within both events, and of course, the all-important social events. The huge industry exhibition, which is also part of this event, is free for all to attend whether you’re a conference delegate or not.
The conference theme is ‘Irrigation for the future – challenges, innovations and opportunities’, while the theme of the ICID Congress is ‘Innovation and research in agriculture water management to achieve sustainable development goals’.
Irrigation Australia is expecting a great turnout of delegates from Australia and further afield. The week promises to be huge.
What to expect
84 conference presentations at the Irrigation Australia Conference by experts in water management, policy, technology and more
70 presentations at the ICID 24th Congress by international guest speakers
Informative workshops: Murray-Darling Basin, Renewables in Agriculture, Women Working in Water Forum, Fish and Irrigation, Geosynthetics
The exhibition: more than 100 leading irrigation industry suppliers will be showcasing their products (5, 6 and 7 October)
A range of technical tours covering some of Australia’s most exciting irrigation and water management projects
A great social program: all delegates are invited to the welcome reception and Outback Spectacular dinner
A unique opportunity to make lasting friendships and connections with others in the industry
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!
Dr Suzanne Long – 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.
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.”
For too long, rural and regional Australia has been forgotten – out of sight and out of mind for both state and federal Governments. I’ve seen the continual decline as services are torn out of regional centres and experienced the devastating effect that natural disasters have had on our people and communities.
That’s why, when Australia voted for change at the federal election in May, I was hopeful it might coincide with a change of luck for regional communities. When I returned to my home in western NSW, however, I found that many didn’t share my sense of hope. In fact, for many, the fear was palpable.
We often hear about the city/country divide in Australia, but what I’ve noticed over recent weeks is a country/ALP divide. Despite a few independents running strong campaigns, the regionally focused National Party managed to retain all their seats.
The Liberal Party also fared quite well in the country, largely retaining their regional seats, while suffering significant losses in and around capital cities.
Labor, on the other hand, performed very well around the capital cities, but barely managed to hold onto their regional NT seat of Lingiari, suffering a 4.5% swing against them.
It is worth considering why, after years spent neglecting rural communities, the coalition remains relatively popular in regional Australia.
Some might say it’s a result of Labor’s more ambitious climate targets, but I would argue against this. Recent Australia Institute research showed that 78% of regional Aussies believe we are already experiencing the impacts of climate change. The idea that country folk don’t recognise the need for climate action has been pushed by conservative politicians with particular agendas, but it’s far from reality.
So why didn’t rural Australia turn red, like the cities? For much of the campaign Labor were tight-lipped on big issues that affect rural areas like a drought strategy, live exports, and Murray Darling water recovery. The few regionally focused commitments that were made received scant media attention. This approach, combined with a prolonged fear campaign from the coalition, created angst and uncertainty about what a Labor government means for the regions.
Labor now has a choice: they can work with people in the country and prove to us that they’re seeking ‘a better future’ for both city and regional Australians, or they can deepen the current divide. Murray Watt, the new Agriculture Minister, has said climate action will be an opportunity for Labor to connect with the bush and I couldn’t agree more. But we have many more problems to address than climate change.
Labor would do well to progress their election commitments around digital connectivity, aged care and regional telehealth as soon as possible. But that, too, won’t be enough in isolation. Regional Australia needs broad, significant investment in services to address the many social, economic, and environmental challenges we face.
David Littleproud, the new leader of the National Party, also has a choice to make: he can act as a conduit between Parliament House and regional Australia by working constructively with Labor to ensure our voices are heard in Canberra. Or he can lead a party that will spend the next three years fanning the flames of fear that are currently simmering in the bush.
His predecessors may have struggled to put politics aside, but I hope he will choose the former and do what’s best for those of us in the country’s heartland.
It’s undeniable that, when it comes to winning the trust of regional voters, all political parties have their work cut out for them. I just hope, whatever choices they make, they consider the part of Australia that has already been on life support for far too long.
Kate McBride is a fifth-generation farmer and Anne Kantor Fellow at independent think tank The Australia Institute.
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.
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.
Accounting for Nature CEO Dr Adrian Ward said the certification of the Goondicum Environmental Account shows extensive commitment to their growing conservation credentials and they should be highly regarded for the adoption of transparent and credible practices.
“To achieve a successful certification the Environmental Account must undergo rigorous activities including adhering to strict guidelines and processes, adoption, and specification of relevant natural asset class methods such as for soil, native vegetation and native fauna that are independently accredited by a panel of Australia’s leading scientists, making up the Accounting for Nature Science Accreditation Committee.”
“Accounting for Nature offers a tiered certification system to provide an easy identifiable label to support proponents’ claims and protect the integrity and quality of the standard,” Dr Ward said.
The self-verified tier two certification indicates that Goondicum will need to update their Environmental Account at least every five years. Ongoing reporting and measurement will track changes to the health of the environment and inform ongoing certification.
Goondicum has worked with sustainability experts listed on the Accounting for Nature Accredited Experts Registry to complete this significant milestone for their Environmental Account and identify baseline results.
Dr Ward said the Accounting for Nature Framework offers a unique rating scale from 0-100 that simplifies the complexity of reporting change in the condition of the environment. This rating scale called the “Econd”, which is combined with a Pcond to determine uplift in productivity, is assigned a confidence level rating which is the result of the collective genius of decades of robust development by Australia’s leading scientific community and is what sets the Accounting for Nature® standard apart from many other standards.
Ms Nadia Campbell, the Director of Goondicum Pastoral Co, said conservation in farming is a critical path for the future and the adoption of Environmental Accounting in our practices helps to achieve improved outcomes for the environment as well as increased productivity and support export market demands, especially within the European market.
“Undertaking the Environmental Account has quantified the ability for us to demonstrate that a sustainable grazing enterprise can operate alongside a healthy ecosystem. It allows us to lead a conversation and educate others about improving business not at the expense of the environment.”
“It has provided enhanced disclosure in our operations and aligns to our values in ensuring natural capital is valued in our business transactions, within the larger economy and ensures we can leave a proud legacy for future generations,” Ms Campbell said.
Accounting for Nature is a not-for-profit venture that provides a world-leading scientifically rigorous standard to create transparent and credible environmental accounts.
The Accounting for Nature Framework is an internally recognised environmental accounting standard that can be used by any government, organisation or individual, who wants to understand whether actions are improving or degrading natural capital. Learn more www.accountingfornature.org
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Bridging science, people & the environment Registered charity ABN 41848154714 | Floodplain imagery courtesy of Fellow Tanya Doody