Bridging Issue #50

November in Canberra has traditionally been a special time for the Trust. Meeting new Fellows at the Leadership Program Graduation and reconnecting with the family of Fellows and the wider Peter Cullen community is inspiring, regenerative and an opportunity for personal reflection. Peter would have been very proud of the leaders supported in his name.

1. From the Chief Executive Officer

Our face-to-face graduation on Thursday 18 November for the 2022 Women in Water Leadership Program celebrated an incredible cohort, with self-believe, destined to have impact, across Australia and beyond. The Graduation Address by Leith Boully (read more below) set a challenge, shared a recipe for success, and critically passed the baton to our Programs Director, Bek Christensen, to continue to evolve the Trust’s transformative leadership programs to meet tomorrow’s challenges. 

Our host for the Graduation, Trust Director and founding Friend, Andrew Campbell, shared our history; how the Trust was established as a legacy to Peter, with funding of $1 million from the National Water Commission and support from the then Water Minister, the Hon Senator Penny Wong. Senator Wong was recently briefed on the impact of that investment and commended the work of the Board in the charitable organisation’s achievements. 

The Trust’s Annual Report, distributed to those attending all events across the week, reflects the quality and diversity of the Trust’s impact and the vision and strength of its governing body.  The Annual Report can be viewed HERE.

On behalf of the Trust, I would particularly like to thank you Andrew, for your leadership in the establishment of the Trust, and your service as an active Director and champion over the past five years. Your retirement from the Board at the AGM on 19 November leaves a big hole for us to fill.  

Our Patron, and scholarship sponsor, Vicky Cullen, attended the Graduation and celebrated with the Women in Water graduates. We are deeply honoured by Vicky’s ongoing support, which extends to the sponsorship of an Indigenous candidate on the 2023 Science to Policy Leadership Program. Peter had a very special relationship with Indigenous leaders, especially through his work in the Lake Eyre Basin and the Kimberley. Vicky continues his legacy through the Vicky Cullen Scholarship. Thank you so much Vicky, your support continues to influence so many lives, careers and conversations. 

The week was full of other activities for the Fellows community with the biannual Fellows Professional Development Day, and the Reconnect, Reflect and Renew workshop for the 2021 Women in Water Leadership Program (more on both events below).

On Wednesday, we were honoured to have Rachel Connell present the annual Peter Cullen Lecture (read more below). We are very grateful for the opportunity to present the Lecture through a partnership with the University of Canberra (Institute for Applied Ecology) and Griffith University (Australian Rivers Institute). The Lecture is a fitting collaboration between the Trust and two world renowned academic institutions so dear to Peter’s heart. 

The incredible week was engineered by our tireless team of Bek Christensen, Lesley Ryall and Linda Cumming, and hosted by the wonderfully talented and highly professional team at the Australian Academy of Science Shine Dome. Thank you. 

Reported elsewhere, the Hon Karlene Maywald, Chairperson of the Board, and former Director Mark Wootton attended COP27. In this issue, we have published a brief teaser of their contribution to COP27, and in the new year we will look more closely at COP27 in a network-wide panel conversation with Karlene, Mark, Fellows and Friends.  

Enjoy the last days of 2022, and have a safe, relaxing and refreshing time with your loved ones over the festive season. We’ll be downing tools in the Trust office from 23 December to 9 January.

Best wishes on achieving your goals in 2023. 

2. Programs Update

2022 and Beyond – By PCT Programs Director, Dr Bek Christensen

Programs Director, Dr Bek Christensen, reflects on the completion of the 2022 PCT Leadership Programs and looks ahead with optimism to a year filled with new ideas and opportunities.

Our newest Fellows with Programs Director, Dr Bek Christensen. Back Row L to R: Jackie Luethi, Shannon Arnott, Vikki Kimberlee, Nicole Bullen; Middle Row L to R: Dr Bek Christensen, Dr Bernadette Proemse, Sonia Wood, Fiona Webster, Peta Brettig; Front Row L to R: Kate Nagato, Vanessa Moscovis, Sarah Ryan, Grace Muriuki, Kylie Climie.
Read more

Collaboration, leadership and influence – theGraduation Address and leadership challenge by Leith Boully

It was inspiring to hear Leith Boully’s address at the 2022 Women in Water Graduation.

In his introduction, Board Director Andrew Campbell said: “It’s an absolute pleasure for me to introduce our Graduation Address speaker tonight – Darryl tells me that it took some arm twisting!  But Leith Boully should need no introduction to any of the Fellows of the Trust because she has been the Program Director from the very first leadership program in 2010, right through to the 2022 Science to Policy Leadership Program who’ve graduated in May this year. Leith was a very good friend of Peter. He’s had innumerable leadership roles in the water sector, I think was the inaugural Chair of the community advisory mechanisms for the Murray-Darling Basin. She’s been on the Boards of many companies and statutory bodies, CRCs and other things that have influenced many, many people in her career, as did Peter. So it’s wonderful to have you with us this evening to give the graduation address. Thank you.”

We’re pleased to share the Graduation Address HERE.

The 2022 WiW Graduation Address by Leith Boully

Not content with speaking to us, Leith issued a challenge to the PCT Fellows Network to enter the debate, influence the revised National Water Initiative and, when you’re done, go and speak truth to power.  You can hear more on this from Leith at the link above or read her summary here.

Read more

Leith Boully: Honouring the Legacy – by PCT CEO, Darryl Day

The contribution that Leith Boully has made to the Peter Cullen Trust and the development of our Fellows is the stuff of legend.  How do we honour that gift and the tireless, dedicated work that it represents? 

Congratulations to Leith Boully, our first lifetime Honorary Member of the Trust, pictured here with (L to R): Andrew O’Neill (2017), Darryl Day, Leith Boully, Bek Christensen, Matthew Fullerton (2013) and Paul Frazier (2012)
Read more

3. Upcoming PCT Events and Opportunities

At the end of another challenging year, a shout out to the Fellows Committee, City Leads and all those who have planned, coordinated, supported and delivered an outstanding program of events across the year.  

For the last time in 2022, get together with your fellow Fellows for informal drinks at Melbourne’s very funky Arbory Afloat, on the banks of the Yarra.  All Fellows, local and visiting, welcome.

14 December

Fellows Networking Event – Melbourne

Informal Christmas drinks and a welcome to our newest Fellows.

5.00pm – 7.00pm
Arbory Afloat, 2 Flinders Walk, Melbourne
Register HERE

Not content to rest on their laurels, plans are underway for more in 2023. Look out for details early in the new year, but in the meantime these are diary keepers:

3 February

Melbourne Lunch with a Leader – Nerina Di Lorenzo, Managing Director, Melbourne Water

This is a Fellows Only event. 

12.00 2.00pm
Melbourne Water, 990 LaTrobe Street, Docklands
New Year Dates TBC

National Conversations facilitated by PCT

  • COP27
  • National Water Reform

4. PCT Updates

Graduation Week Events

The 2022 Peter Cullen Lecture – The Case for Water Reform: Being Prepared for Extreme Extremes

How do we design the next National Water Initiative to set us up to deal effectively with the “extreme extremes” of the future? In presenting the 2022 Peter Cullen Lecture, Rachel Connell posed questions, challenges and highlighted key priorities for national water reform.

Rachel Connell delivers the 2022 Peter Cullen Lecture
Photo Credit: Arthava Karkhanis
Read more

University of Canberra signs on for five more years as Host of the Trust

Our Patron, Vicky Cullen, witnesses the signing of a 5-year hosting agreement between the University of Canberra, represented by Professor Ross Thompson (2014), and the Peter Cullen Trust, represented by CEO, Darryl Day
Photo Credit: Arthava Karkhanis

Immediately prior to the Lecture, Professor Ross Thompson (2014) announced a new, five-year host agreement between the University of Canberra and the Peter Cullen Trust.

Read more

Fellows Professional Development Day

We had a brilliant time at the PD Day.  

By Paul Frazier (2012)

PD Day – oh what a feeling.
Read more

PD Day – Regenerative thinking and why we need it

What are the biggest challenges of our generation – and how can regenerative thinking help?

Francis Pamminger and Lisa Ehrenfried (2014) challenged us to embrace the concept of regenerative thinking.

By Francis Pamminger

Read more

The Ripple Award 2022 

On behalf of the Peter Cullen Trust, and as recommended by the Fellows Committee, Trust Director Chris Arnott (2010) presented the two deserving winners of the 2022 Ripple Award – Associate Professor Bradley Moggridge (2018) and Dr Paul Frazier (2012).  

Chris Arnott (2010) with 2022 Ripple Award Winners Dr Paul Frazier (2012) and Associate Professor Bradly Moggridge (2018)
Read more

The Ripple Effects of Reconnection – a 2021 WiW RRR reflection

By Tamara Jackson (2021)

Despite floods and flight delays, the 2021 cohort of the Women in Water program came together in Canberra in November to Reconnect, Reflect and Renew.

WiW2021 Fellows with RRR facilitator Zoe Routh, outside The Shine Dome. Back Row L to R: Nerida Horner, Katie Hammer, Alanna Wright, Zoe Routh (Facilitator), Karla Halliday, Tamara Jackson, Simone Stewart; Front Row L to R: Di Mead, Ruth McDonnell, Karen White, Michelle Campbell
Read more

Lunch with a Leader Series

In a welcome return to in person gatherings, lunches with leaders were held in Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide through October and early November this year.  

Adelaide Lunch with a Leader – Jeremy Conway, Chief Executive, Infrastructure SA (ISA)

By Dan Mollison (2022) and Kate Holland (2018)

Find the right time for an idea and other leadership insights

Anti clockwise from front left: Kate Holland (CSIRO), Jeremy Conway (ISA), Stuart Richardson (CDM Smith), Peta Brettig (DEW), Ali Ahmadi (SA Water), Karlene Maywald (Chair, PCT Board), Kiara Johnson (KSJ Consulting), Kerri Muller (Kerri Muller NRM), Rachel Barratt (Jacobs), Dan Mollison (Jacobs)
Read more

Brisbane Lunch with a Leader – Di Tarte, Director, Marine Ecosystem Policy Advisors

By Kim Markwell (2015)

In October, a number of the Brisbane PCT Fellows sat down with Di Tarte over lunch alongside the Brisbane River at Patina at Customs House.

Brisbane Lunch with a Leader. (from left to right: Grace Muriuki, Matthew Fullerton, Ailsa Kerswell, Bek Christensen, Andrew O’Neill, Di Tarte, Kim Markwell)
Read more

Perth Lunch with a Leader – Professor Debbie Silvester-Dean, Professor of Chemistry, ARC Future Fellow, School of Molecular and Life Sciences, Curtin University

By Stacey Hamilton (2018)

In which Professor Debbie Silvester-Dean shared the challenges of navigating academia, research, teaching, family life and being female.

Stacey Hamilton and Debbie Silvester-Dean
Read more

The NextGen of Water Managers

Jason Wilson (2022) and colleagues from CEWO have been busy sharing stories and knowledge with young people who will be the future custodians of Australia’s natural resources.

Read their story HERE.

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 Louise Dudley

Louise Dudley, Friend of the Trust

Louise Dudley recently accepted our invitation to become a Friend of the Peter Cullen Trust.  Louise is a widely acknowledged and transformative leader within the water sector and she is warmly welcomed as our newest Friend.

Read more

5. Conferences and Seminars

The 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27)

COP27 – a start on adaptation, but more focus needed

As COP27 drew to a close, UN secretary-general António Guterres concluded that the world was “on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.”

Whilst COP27 delivered The Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan, there is scant focus on water and its critical role in adaptation, with most country representatives and delegations drawn from sectors focused on mitigation, such as climate change and energy. 

The talks made several trends clear, and achieved a major breakthrough for developing countries, but were left wanting on many fronts.

Karlene Maywald and Mark Wootton attended.

COP27 – The Hon Karlene Maywald and Mark Wootton on site in Egypt, November 2022
Read more

International Environmental Law and what it means for COP27

By Emma Carmody (2013), Co-Founder & Director of Legal & Partnerships, Restore Blue | International Environmental Lawyer

It’s been a big month or two in the world of international environmental law.

Read more

6. Awards and Appointments

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

Michael Wrathall (2016) appointed to Senior Ministerial Advisor role

A water resources professional and leader with a wide range of experience in the public and private sectors over 2 decades, Michael was appointed to the role of Senior Advisor to Environment & Water Minister Tanya Plibersek in June this year.

Kathryn Silvester (2022) elected to the Board of eWater

Kathryn joined the Board of eWater in November, bringing her wealth of knowledge, her passion and commitment to the role.  

Eric Vanweydeveld (2022) elected to the Australian Water Association Board

Another November appointment sees Eric elected to the AWA Board of Directors for the next two-year term, commencing in May 2023.

Stacey Hamilton (2018) awarded Churchill Scholarship

Recognised as one of “Australia’s best and brightest minds”, the Churchill Scholarship will support Stacey to visit Singapore and America to pursue a technical assessment of alternative treatment technologies for future water recycling schemes.

Madeleine Hartley (2017) reports on her Churchill Fellowship

Awarded in 2019 but Covid-delayed, Madeleine finally departed in October 2022 on a whirlwind 8-week international tour to explore international water law and policy for water security.  Madeleine shares her initial learnings and the international lessons we can take into our own legal framework.

Read more here.

Jennifer McKay (Friend of the Trust) becomes a Fellow of the International Water Association

Jennifer was made a Fellow of the International Water Association in September, in recognition of her national and international contributions to water management law and policy. Jennifer continues to make an impact through her teaching which includes science to law students with respect to biodiversity and also water hydrology, and taking students on a New Colombo plan study tour to Fiji to look at climate change impacts in the Pacific.

Bradley Moggridge (2018) appointed to the NSW Environment Protection Authority

Associate Professor Bradley Moggridge – a proud Murri Man of the Kamilaroi Nation in Northern NSW – was appointed to the Board of NSW Environment Protection Authority. The Board Chair, Ms Rayne de Gruchy AM PSM, said “I am also pleased to see an Aboriginal understanding of the complex environment we live in is now an entrenched part of the EPA Board. It brings an important perspective to our work that comes from 65,000 years of environmental stewardship and deep knowledge of this land.” Ms de Gruchy also said “the combination of First Nations knowledge and environmental science would inevitably lead to more holistic decision making at Board level.”

2023 Great Artesian Basin Lynn Brake Scholarship Grant Program – Applications Open

The $20,000 annual Scholarship Grant will support new or continuing Postgraduate students to undertake new research it a field related to the Great Artesian Basin.  Applications close on Monday 23 January. Click HERE for full details.

7. Articles and Publications

See links below to recent publications by PCT Fellows and Friends

Launch of WSAA Report: Closing the Water for People and Communities Gap

Eric Vanweydeveld (2022)

PCT Fellow, Eric Vanweydeveld, was contracted by the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) to undertake a national review on remote water supplies, to provide some clarity around the management of water services in relation to First Nations communities.   Through extensive research and engagement with stakeholders and the communities themselves, Eric has developed a review which maps the complex and opaque arrangements in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland, highlighting the linkages, differences and legacies. The review focuses on water quality issues, water security, systemic issues around governance, funding and policies. The review took 18 months to complete and over 170 stakeholders were interviewed across the jurisdiction and the Commonwealth Government.

The review, is a first step, and aims to establish a platform for advocacy across various levels of governments.

The full report was launched by Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, at Parliament House in November and can be downloaded HERE.  The launch recording can be accessed HERE.

Read more

Water Sensitive Urban Design videos set to improve the delivery of urban water management and water sensitive cities

Brett Dunn (2019)

Brett recently filmed a number of Water Sensitive Urban Design videos for New Water Ways, which aim to build the water sensitive urban design capacity of Government and industry in WA to improve the delivery of urban water management and water sensitive cities.   Brett’s work can be viewed at 

Further recommended reading

MDBA – National Rural Press Club address by Andrew McConville, CEO of the MDBA

In his first address to the National Rural Press Club, Andrew reflects on the challenges facing Australia’s largest and most complex river system, as delivery of the $13 billion Murray-Darling Basin Plan nears its legislated deadline. & 

State of the Climate Report 2022 – CSIRO/BOM

The State of the Climate Report is presented every two years by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology.  The 2022 report, released on 23 November, has found changes to weather and climate extremes are happening at an increased pace across Australia.

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