Speakers

Councillor Jess Miller

Councillor, City of Sydney Council, and former Deputy Lord Mayor, Jess Miller was first elected to council in 2016 and is one of the youngest people to hold elected office at the City of Sydney. Jess is currently deputy chair of the Environment Committee and the Cycling Advisory Committee and a member of the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils. 

Jess is passionate about supporting Sydney’s night-time economy, and the artists, musicians, small bar owners and venues that underpin it.

Jess is a program advisor to sustainability and innovation company, Republic of Everyone.

Jess is known for her creative and inclusive approaches to sustainability, strategy and innovation. Jess co-founded GreenUps Sustainability Drinks, Grow it Local and the Elizabeth Street Gallery. She has worked on the Garage Sale Trail, Tweed Ride and Grow Show which featured an enormous veggie patch and education programs outside Melbourne Town Hall.

For the past three years, Jess has curated the food program for TEDxSydney where she introduced ‘crowd-farming’, ‘rebel food’ and ‘love food’. Jess is passionate about the power of food to bring people together, celebrating local food and drink producers of Sydney and she was the curator of the General Thinking on the Streets of Barangaroo event series. 

Jess sits on the Environment Panel for the Greater Sydney Commission, is a Weleda Biodiversity ambassador, sits on the Parent Advisory Group of the Parenthood and was voted the Sydney electorate’s Woman of the Year 2014. She was voted as a Reformer in the Sydney Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People in 2012.

Her work has earned an Industry Innovation Award from the Property Council for the 202020 Vision, Good Design Award for Social Innovation, Australian Event Award for Best Achievement in Catering for TEDxSydney and Grow It Local collaboration.

Professor Emma Johnston

Professor Emma Johnston is Dean of Science at the UNSW Sydney and head of the Applied Marine and Estuarine Ecology Lab (AMEE). Her group investigates the ecology of human impacts in marine systems. She combines the diverse disciplines of ecology, microbiology and ecotoxicology in an exciting research program that expands our fundamental understanding and provides recommendations for management. Her research is conducted in such diverse field environments as Antarctica, the Great Barrier Reef and temperate Australian estuaries.

Professor Johnston’s work has met the highest standards of international research, as evidenced by more than 120 peer-reviewed publications. An Australia Research Fellow from 2010-2014, Professor Johnston studied science at the University of Melbourne, graduating with a PhD in 2002. Her research has been recognised with numerous awards, including the inaugural Australian Academy of Science Nancy Mills Medal for Women in Science (2014), the NSW Science and Engineering Award for Excellence in Biological Sciences (2012) and the Hynes Award from the Canadian Rivers Institute (2016). 

Professor Johnston is a high-profile science communicator, winning the 2015 Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research. She is a regular media commentator and, as co-presenter for the Foxtel/BBC television series, Coast Australia, has helped take Australian marine science to an international audience. As President of Science and Technology Australia, Johnston is a public advocate for science and for increasing the participation of women in research. Professor Johnston contributes expert opinion to state, federal & international government agencies and consults with industry through the development and implementation of environmental monitoring programs.

Justice Rachel Pepper

Justice Pepper was appointed as a Judge of the Land and Environment Court of NSW in May 2009. 

From 1997 until her appointment in 2009, Justice Pepper practised as a barrister at the New South Wales Bar.  Her principal areas of practice were general commercial law and public law, including constitutional law.  While at the bar, Justice Pepper was a member of Bar Council from 2000-2009 and was Secretary of the Bar Council from 2006 to 2009.

Prior to being called to the bar, Justice Pepper was the Associate to Justice McHugh in the High Court of Australia from 1996 to 1997.

In March 2015 Justice Pepper was the inaugural judge-in-residence at the Australian National University’s Centre for International and Public Law at the College of Law.

In 2017 she was appointed Chair of the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing of Onshore Unconventional Gas Reservoirs and Associated Activities in the Northern Territory and as an ambassador for Twenty10.

She has previously lectured in law at UTS and UNSW and is currently a guest lecturer in Environmental Litigation at the Faculty of Law at Sydney University.

She is Vice President of the Australian Association of Constitutional Law.

Principal Environment Judge Laurie J Newhook

Judge Laurie Newhook has been the Principal Judge of the New Zealand Environment Court since 2011, and a Judge of the Court since 2001.  Prior to that he was a partner at Brookfields Lawyers and had over thirty years of advocacy experience to that point, with particular emphasis on environmental matters, land, property, and maritime laws. Judge Newhook has presented at many national and international conferences on the themes of environmental adjudication and the use of technology in adjudicative settings, and has written multiple papers on the subjects.  His Honour is a consulting editor of the New Zealand Resource Management Bulletin and edits the ‘Annual Review by Members of the New Zealand Environment Court’ (https://environmentcourt.govt.nz/decisions-publications/). Judge Newhook has hosted international delegations to his Court from many parts of the World; chaired and presented at the ‘International Forum for Environment Judges’, Oslo, Norway, June 2016; and chaired and addressed plenary sessions at IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquia and other international conferences. With Associate Professor Ceri Warnock of University of Otago Law School, he has established a website https://environmental-adjudication.org(external link) and organised an international symposium on the subject in Auckland in April 2017. 

Justice Melissa Perry

Justice Melissa Perry was appointed to the Federal Court of Australia in 2013.  Her Honour graduated in Law from Adelaide University with 1st class honours, and was awarded a prize-winning PhD in public international law from Cambridge University.  She practiced at the Bar in Australia from 1992 to 2013, being appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2004, and was admitted to the Bar of England and Wales in 2012.   Her Honour’s areas of expertise in practice included environmental law, native title, constitutional law, and international law.  

Justice Perry serves as a Squadron Leader with the Royal Australian Air Force Legal Specialist Reserves.  She is also a member of the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity established by the Council of Chief Justices.  

Among other roles, her Honour is a Fellow and former director of the Australian Academy of Law, and a member of the advisory boards for the Centre for International and Public Law (Australian National University) and the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law (University of New South Wales).  She served for many years on the Administrative Review Council, an independent statutory body which monitored and advised on federal administrative law.  Her Honour has recently co-edited Australian Native Title Law (2nd ed) (2018).

Honorary Professor Peter Skelton

Honorary Professor Peter Skelton was a law practitioner from 1964 to 1978 and a Judge of the New Zealand Environment Court from 1978 to 2000. He was the Associate Professor of Resource Management Law at Lincoln University from 2000 to 2005 and on retirement from that position he was appointed an Honorary Professor. He was a Canterbury Regional Council Commissioner from 2010 to 2016 and is currently a Government appointed Canterbury Regional Councillor.

He is the author of numerous articles on resource management law and has presented papers at several conferences and seminars both in New Zealand and overseas.

Professor Skelton is an Honorary Life Member of the Resource Management Law Association and the New Zealand Legal Research Foundation. He is also a Life Member of the New Zealand Planning Institute and an Honorary Fellow of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand
In the 2001 New Years’ Honours List Professor Skelton was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to environmental law and in 2016 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Natural Resources by Lincoln University.

Lucy Hughes Turnbull AO

Lucy Hughes Turnbull AO is an urbanist, businesswoman and philanthropist with a longstanding interest in cities, and technological and social innovation. She chaired the Committee for Sydney from 2012 to 2015.

In 2015 she was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission, tasked by the NSW state government to assist in delivering strong and effective strategic planning for the whole of metropolitan Sydney.

Mrs Turnbull was the first female Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney from 2003-4 and in 2011 she became an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the community, local government and business.

In 2012 Mrs Turnbull was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Business by the University of NSW, and in 2016 was appointed Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Built Environment, University of NSW. In 2017 Mrs Turnbull was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Western Sydney University which she received for her substantial and sustained service and contribution to the University and the Greater Western Sydney region.

Simon Smale

Simon Smale is a landscape architect who worked for over 20 years in protected natural landscapes with New Zealand’s Department of Conservation, has undertaken design and protected areas consultancies in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, China and Laos, and has worked in television, presenting a 24-episode bilingual series on conservation, gardening and land management on NZ’s Maori Television channel. For the past decade he has managed Bush Heritage Australia’s contribution to the Gondwana Link connectivity conservation project in the southwest Australia global biodiversity hotspot, based out of Albany on the South Coast of WA.

Rene Woods

Rene Woods is a Nari Nari man from south-west New South Wales in Australia. Rene has been involved with the management of Aboriginal culture, heritage and natural resources for many years, and is currently working as an Aboriginal Heritage Conservation Officer in the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. As chairperson of the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations, Rene represents the southern Murray Darling Basin nations on the National Cultural Flows Research Project. Rene is also vice-chairperson of the Nari Nari Tribal Council and holds a seat on the Toogimbie IPA advisory group. He enjoys working with communities on the ground to promote awareness of Aboriginal culture and heritage, water issues, and getting local Communities back on Country and involved in water management.

Professor Mary O'Kane AC

Professor Mary O’Kane AC

Mary O’Kane is the Chair of the Independent Planning Commission, a company director, and Executive Chairman of O’Kane Associates, a Sydney-based consulting practice specialising in government reviews and research and innovation matters.

She is also chair of the boards of the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre, the Space Environment Management Cooperative Research Centre and the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania. As well, she is a board member of the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority, the Capital Markets Cooperative Research Centre and the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre.

Professor O’Kane was NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer from 2008-2018. In this role she was commissioned to carry many reviews for Government including in the areas of coal seam gas activities in NSW, decline in koala populations,  rail coal dust emissions management practices in the NSW coal chain and energy security. Full reports for all the reviews she led as Chief Scientist & Engineer can be found at http://www.chiefscientist.nsw.gov.au/reports

Professor O’Kane was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide from 1996-2001. She is a former Chair of the board of the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy, a former member of the Commonwealth’s Review of the National Innovation System, the Australian Research Council and the Cooperative Research Centres Committee, the board of FH Faulding & Co Ltd and the board of CSIRO. She is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering and an Honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia. 

Greg Bourne

Greg Bourne has worked at the nexus of climate change, energy business and policy for over 30 years. With BP he lived and worked in the UK, Middle East, USA, Canada, Ireland, Brazil, China, Venezuela and Australia. For two years he was Special Adviser on Energy and Transport to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He returned to Australia in 1999 as Regional President, BP Australasia and worked with business and governments on the Climate Change agenda.

Greg was CEO WWF Australia for six years and later a non-executive director of Carnegie Wave Energy. He is the former Chair of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

A Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, he was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to the environment and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Western Australia for services to international business.

Dr Michael Pulch

His Excellency Dr. Michael Pulch is the European Union Ambassador to Australia and has been serving in the position since September 2017. The European Union Delegation in Australia has been active since 1981 with the aim of strengthening the bilateral ties between the EU and Australia. As Head of the EU Delegation, Dr. Pulch has been working on the launch of negotiations of a free trade agreement which will significantly enhance the bilateral economic relationship. Besides, the EU has also recently signed a Framework Agreement that upgrades the bilateral political cooperation and held the first EU-Australia Leadership Forum that brought together leaders from all sectors.

Prior to his arrival in Australia, Dr. Pulch was the EU Ambassador to Singapore from 2013 to 2017. Previously he headed the Russia Division in the European External Action Service (EEAS) in Brussels from 2011 to 2013, and served as Deputy Chief of Mission of the EU Delegation to China, in Beijing, from 2006 to 2011. During the course of his career, Dr. Pulch was posted in Seoul, Washington, Brussels, and Tokyo. He holds degrees in law and political science from the universities of Bonn, Paris, and Cambridge.

Lee Stewart

Lee has over ten years’ experience innovating ICT Sustainability Strategies and Energy Efficiency Programs for mid-to-large enterprises. 

His focus is on monetising sustainability both internally and for the Fujitsu client-base as a means to incentivise the stakeholder engagement required to drive sustainable change. 

Lee has been key in facilitating the first ever NABERS Rated Data Centre and also promoting the tool both internally and externally.

He is a member of the Fujitsu Global Sustainability Leadership Team and is the Global Lead for ICT Sustainability Consulting.

Richard Mueller

Richard Mueller is the Executive GM for Technical and Innovation for Veolia ANZ. He has over 25 years’ experience in water and environmental services industries. Richard is involved in development and transfer new technologies and innovations from Veolia research and technical centres that provide better environmental outcomes for its customers in Australia. Richard has been actively involved in developing delivering and operating some of Australia’s key waste and water infrastructure facilities. Ranging from Leachate treatment, Municipal waste biological treatment, recycled water and desalination facilities. He has held senior project control positions on a number of high profile projects including the Sydney Desalination and the Fairfield Recycled Water Plants. In 2002 he established operations of the Aqua project in regional Victoria, a BOOT scheme incorporating three advanced water treatment plants. He is currently on the Board of a major landfill in Queensland.

Damien Giurco

Damien is Professor of Resource Futures and Director (Innovation) at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney. His collaborative research with government and industry is focused on responsible prosperity and resource stewardship in the waste, water, energy and minerals sectors.

Damien has spoken and published widely on sustainability and is Editor-in-chief for the journal Resources. He serves on the NSW Ministerial Advisory Committee for the Container Deposit System and is a member of the NSW Industry Reference Group for the China National Sword Inter-Governmental Taskforce. He is also Chair of the Energy Storage Working group for the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative.

Paul Elton

Paul commenced his career in the private sector and has 25 years’ experience working in portfolio and central agency roles with the NSW and Commonwealth governments. His career has had a significant focus on environment protection and biodiversity conservation.

As Executive Director Policy with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage from 2012 to 2017 Paul led the development of land management and biod

iversity conservation reforms across government.

In July 2017 Paul Elton was appointed Executive Director and Chief Executive of the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust.

Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla

Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Professor Veena Sahajwalla is an internationally recognised materials scientist, engineer and innovator revolutionising recycling science. She is renowned for pioneering the high temperature transformation of waste in the production of a new generation of ‘green materials.’ Veena recently launched the world’s first e-waste microfactory. As a materials scientist and engineer and founding Director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, she is producing a new generation of green materials, products and resources made entirely, or primarily, from waste. Veena also heads the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for ‘green manufacturing’, a leading national research centre that works in collaboration with industry to ensure new science is translated into real world environmental and economic benefits. Numerous international and national honours have recognised Veena’s research and leadership; in 2018 she has elected as Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. In 2017 Veena has received PLuS Alliance Prize for Research Innovation and awarded the prestigious Jubilee Professorship by the Indian Academy of Sciences.

The new science of recycling
Veena is renowned for her internationally commercialised EAF ‘green’ steelmaking process that is utilising millions of waste tyres otherwise destined for landfill as a partial replacement for coke. The conceptual and scientific breakthroughs that underpin ‘green steel’ have paved the way for an unparalleled portfolio of new ‘waste to value’ science, built over years of research at the SMaRT Centre, with valuable contributions from industry partners. With her SMaRT Centre research team, Veena is overcoming the many technical limitations and cost barriers of conventional, industrial scale recycling by investigating waste at its elemental level. The world’s waste mountains are packed with useful elements like carbon, hydrogen and materials like silica, titania and metals our industries would otherwise source from virgin resources. By using precisely controlled high temperature reactions – that selectively break and reform the bonds between different elements within the waste mix – Veena is producing previously unimaginable value-added resources and products. This approach is enabling her to transform many of the world’s most challenging waste streams — like e-waste, automotive waste, batteries and construction waste – into new materials and resources that can be redirected back into production.

Microfactories – the future of green manufacturing
Veena is facilitating the roll out of safe, cost-effective ‘waste to value’ solutions via her unique microfactory model, which brings the solution to the (waste) problem for the first time. In future, these small-scale microfactories will enable local communities to produce many of the products, materials and resources they need locally, using resources largely derived from waste. This new approach promises to disrupt today’s highly centralised, vertically integrated industrial model and its mass global markets, as agile, scale technologies drive the decentralisation of manufacturing, with positive economic and social impacts. The first two microfactories will be unveiled on campus at UNSW in 2017 focusing on e-waste and green materials. Using Veena’s high temperature approach, e-waste can be safely transformed into valuable metal alloys, plastic 3D printer filament and other advanced materials, like silicon carbide nanoparticles; with multiple industrial uses. The replica of ‘Gandhi glasses’ created by using filaments were presented to the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, by Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, as a memento of the Australia-India bilateral relationship during an Australian-India Skills Conference (https://youtu.be/N4Csbn05PYw) held in India in April 2017. High quality green materials, such as benchtops, panelling and flooring, can manufactured from mixed glass and plastics and other common wastes currently destined for landfill.

Recognition and engagement
While already well-known and highly respected in her field, Veena became one of Australia’s best-known scientists and inventors through her regular appearances as a judge on the long-running ABC TV series The New Inventors. She continues her community engagement through regular school visits and public talks, her mentoring program for girls in science (Science 50:50) and regular media commentary. In the academic sphere, Veena has published 388 peer-reviewed papers and delivers keynote and invited speeches across Australia and worldwide. In 2016, Veena was named one of Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers by Engineers Australia. In 2015, Veena was the Innovation Winner of the Australian Financial Review¬–Westpac 100 Women of Influence awards, and was named Australia’s 100 Most Influential Engineers (Engineers Australia). In 2013, Veena has received the ‘Howe Memorial Lecture Award’, Pittsburgh, USA. In 2012, Veena won the Australian Innovation Challenge (Overall Winner) as well as the Banksia Environmental Foundation’s 2012 GE Eco Innovation Award for Individual Excellence. In the same year her ‘green steel’ technology was listed by the US Society for Manufacturing Engineers’ as among the ‘innovations that could change the way we manufacture’. She was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) in 2007 and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia, in 2005, and a Honorary Fellow in 2015.

Nick Thomas

Nick is a recognised leader in environment, planning, climate change, resources, water and government law. He has over 20 years’ experience working with Commonwealth, State and local government agencies and major corporations in a wide range of industries, particularly infrastructure, energy, resources and property development. He has advised on some of the most significant infrastructure and development projects in Australia, and was involved in several of the earliest biodiversity credit transactions in New South Wales. Nick acts on transactional work, assessment and approvals processes, contaminated site management, operations and compliance, incident management, prosecutions and dispute resolution. He advises on policy and legislation development, and assists with corporate governance and risk management. He has advised at CEO, Board and Ministerial levels. Nick is recognised in leading international legal directories, and is known for the practical solutions he delivers.

Nick has been a member of EIANZ for over 15 years. He served on the NSW Committee for several years, has delivered many presentations and workshops for EIANZ, and has designed and convenes an expert witness course for EIANZ.

Chani Lokuge

Chani is a Technical Director (Waste Management) with AECOM in Sydney and over the past 24 years has been working in the waste management sector both within local government and as a consultant.
With tertiary qualifications in both engineering and business management, Chani is passionate about developing innovative ways to manage waste within Australia in particular drawing upon technical expertise and lessons learnt from overseas.  During his time with AECOM, Chani has worked on developing and implementing long term waste strategies for several local government authorities focussed on reducing waste generation, managing waste collection efficiently and diverting waste from landfill.  He has also been the technical advisor to clients for the procurement of advanced waste treatment technologies including biological and thermal treatment systems.

Heidi Asten

Heidi Asten is a specialist environment and planning Partner at law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. Her practice spans from major transport, energy and urban developments to pollution incident crisis management and remediation of contamination. Heidi will discuss the key themes currently under discussion around environmental regulation in Victoria and how they correspond with trends arising in other jurisdictions. In particular, Heidi will discuss the fundamental changes to the Environment Protection Act which reflect a new focus on identifying potential and actual material harm to the environment and increase the onus on business and individuals to actively take steps to respond to environmental risks.

Doug Jackson

Doug has over 35 years’ experience in the energy and mining industry. Doug is responsible for leading AGL’s Group Operations businesses including AGL’s power generation portfolio and other key sites and operating facilities. Doug leads a geographically dispersed team of approximately 1,800 employees. Prior to joining AGL in 2013, Doug worked in both the United States and Canada, leading operations and construction of electricity generation and mining assets.  

Dr Tammie Matson

Dr Tammie Matson is a world expert on elephants and has inspired thousands of people, from children to adults, to achieve their dreams through her award-winning books, speeches and African adventures. Inspired by a visit to Zimbabwe at the age of fifteen, Tammie achieved what many said could not be done as a young woman from North Queensland, by first becoming a wildlife researcher in Africa, then achieving a PhD in zoology and becoming a published author – all before she turned 25.
From the jungles of Borneo, to the plains of Africa, to the black markets of Vietnam, Dr Tammie Matson has been on a mission for over two decades to save endangered wildlife. She has survived charges by lions, been almost crushed by elephants in the Namibian desert, stood up to angry Zimbabwean war veterans and seen first hand the brutal war against ruthless poachers and the bloody carcasses of the wildlife she loves. She has met presidents and traffickers in palaces and tourist markets, journeying to the dark heart of the dark illegal ivory and rhino horn industry in South East Asia.
Today, she balances her passionate commitment to conservation with being a mother to two sons under age 9. Her stories are thought-provoking, funny and sometimes scary, and ask us all to find the courage in ourselves to achieve our dreams. Tammie brings a unique and highly experienced on-the-ground perspective to any audience, and her unusual brand of courage and never-give-up attitude to reshaping conservation, building an ethical business and being a parent on a mission, make for fascinating insights and heart-felt inspiration.

Conference Program

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