15 July 2010

Minister for Sustainable Population announces advisory panels

The Minister for Sustainable Population Tony Burke has today announced the membership of the three panels to advise him on sustainable population issues.

These panels are the first step in establishing an open national dialogue on the Gillard Government's Sustainable Population Strategy.

"This is the nation's first ever sustainable population strategy and we need to get the balance right," Mr Burke said.

"The Gillard Government is committed to a sustainable population for Australia where hard working families can enjoy a good life, business can find the workers they need, and our natural environment is preserved.

"The consultation will deal with a number of concerns that have been raised with me over the past few months including transport congestion, infrastructure, employment and the environment.

"We need to get beyond just seeing this as a debate on immigration." Mr Burke said.

For this reason Mr Burke is establishing a Demographic change and Liveability Panel, a Productivity and Prosperity Panel and a Sustainable Development Panel.

Professor Graeme Hugo will chair the Demographic change and Liveability Panel. Members will include Jane-Frances Kelly, Professor Daniela Stehlik, Councillor Pam Parker, Ruth Spielman, Marion Thompson, Waleed Aly, John Taylor, Everald Compton, and Lord Mayor Graeme Sawyer.

Professor Hugo said, "Australia stands at a turning point in its demographic development and it is crucial that a vision of our future population is developed which takes full account of the best scientific and policy thinking and knowledge but which is also inclusive of the wishes and opinions of all Australians."

Ms Heather Ridout will chair the Productivity and Prosperity Panel, its members will include David Crombie, Dr. Barry Hughes, Paul Low, Mark Hunter, Alison Watt, Paul Howes, and Nicole Lockwood.

Ms Ridout said, "I am very much looking forward to chairing the Productivity and Prosperity group and being part of the broader discussion about our population outlook and all that entails. We will be looking closely at how to best manage our continuing population growth and how we can build confidence about the considerable social and economic benefits that can stem from that growth."

The Hon Bob Carr will chair the Sustainable Development Panel, its members will include Dr Susan Close, John Sutton, Bill Forrest, Sam Mostyn, Associate Professor Katharine Betts, Councillor Bob Abbot, Don Henry.

Mr Carr said, "Australians are able to have a mature debate about population, they know this continent of ours has suffered from poor approaches to development and understand issues of land degradation and water security. For the first time an Australian Government is prepared to feed issues of sustainability into a discussion about population."

"Each of these appointments brings a wealth of knowledge and experience on population issues and will be vital in development of a comprehensive sustainable population strategy," Mr Burke said.

The Sustainable Population Strategy panels will reflect a diverse range of community opinion and provide advice to the Minister for Sustainable Population on the issues, views, tradeoffs, opportunities and challenges associated with population growth and population ageing.

The advice received from the three panels will form the basis of a public issues paper to be released later this year.

"Australians have been wanting government to look at these issues strategically for generations, strong consultation will get this right" Mr Burke added.

Further information on all panel members is attached.


Sustainable Population Strategy - Advisory Panel members

Demographic change and Liveability

Name Biography

Professor Graeme Hugo (Chair)

Graeme Hugo is a University Professorial Research Fellow, Professor of Geography and Director of the National Centre for Social Applications of Geographical Information Systems at the University of Adelaide.

He is the author of over two hundred books, articles in scholarly journals and chapters in books, as well as a large number of conference papers and reports.

In 2002 he secured a $1.125 million ARC Federation Fellowship over five years for his research project, "The new paradigm of international migration to and from Australia: dimensions, causes and implications".

Jane-Frances Kelly
Program Director
Grattan Institute

Jane-Frances has an outstanding reputation as a policy strategist. She led cabinet-level strategy work for the UK, Queensland, Victorian, and Commonwealth governments. She also worked for the Vice-Chancellor at the University of Melbourne, the Chief Commissioner for Victoria Police, Noel Pearson at the Cape York Institute, and the Boston Consulting Group.

Prior to coming to Australia, Jane-Frances spent three years at the UK Prime Minister's Strategy Unit, where she led the team which produced the first Strategic Audit for the UK government.

Professor Daniela Stehlik
School for Social and Policy Research
Charles Darwin University

Professor Stehlik is one of Australia's leading social scientists in the areas of sustainability, human service practice and social cohesion with a focus on families and communities in regional/rural Australia. She has also recently been appointed as inaugural Director of the new Northern Institute at Charles Darwin University.

From 2003 to early 2010 Professor Stehlik held the position of Foundation Chair in Stronger Communities and Director of the Research Centre for Stronger Communities (RCSC) at Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Western Australia, where she lead a team of social scientists working in sustainability and conservation; land use change; strengths-based practice models and place and community vulnerability. Before that appointment Professor Stehlik served for nine years at Central Queensland University.

Councillor Pam Parker
Logan City Council

Logan City's first female Mayor, she is drawing on her long-term Council experience and rapport with the community to cater for the city's 261,000 residents and plan for the city's future.

Logan City Council is now the sixth largest local government authority in Australia. It covers 960 square kilometres, spanning all or part of 63 suburbs and localities from south Brisbane to Beenleigh, Ipswich and northern Beaudesert.

Ruth Spielman
Executive Director

Ruth is Executive Officer of the National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA) which incorporates 25 of the nation's fastest growing municipalities. These Councils have formed a group to input into urban policy and to advocate for needed infrastructure and services for growth areas.

Qualified in both social work and urban planning, Ruth has 16 years experience working in growth area councils across strategic planning and community services.

Marion Thompson
Urban Planning Consultant and WA Urban Development Coordinator

Marion Thompson is an urban planning consultant. She has an Honours Degree in Town and Regional Planning from Melbourne University and a Masters Degree in Regional Development in the Netherlands.

Marion has worked as an urban planner in Melbourne, London and Dubai for consulting firms and state and local government, including in Perth since 1995. She was appointed by the WA State Government to co-ordinate residential land release in the Perth Metropolitan area in 2006.

Waleed Aly
Academic and Commentator

Waleed Aly is a lecturer in politics at Monash University. He is a regular commentator for the Guardian, the Australian, the Australian Financial Review, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, as well as ABC Melbourne radio and SBS's Salam Café. His first book is People Like Us: How Arrogance Is Dividing Islam and the West (2007).

John Taylor

John's research interests have revolved around the measurement of demographic change among Indigenous peoples and assessment of their economic status at varying scales of analysis from the local to the regional and national. Increasingly, this also incorporates international comparison with North America and New Zealand, particularly in terms of demographic analysis. A basic tenet of his research is the need to establish key parameters of population change as the basis for evaluating policy impacts in areas such as employment, housing, education and health. He has published widely on these issues and is the author of numerous consultancy reports for government, industry and Indigenous organisations.

Mr Everald Compton AM
National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre

Everald Compton is Chairman of the Board of the National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre. In addition to his role with NSPAC he is a Director and Chairman of the National Seniors and Chairman of the Australian Inland Rail Expressway. A successful fundraising consultant for 48 years, he was awarded the Order of Australia in 1992 for services to the community.

Lord Mayor Graeme Sawyer
Lord Mayor of Darwin and Chair
Council of Capital City Lord Mayors

Lord Mayor Sawyer was elected to office in March 2008 and is currently the Chair of the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors (CCCLM), a representative on the Federal Government's Australian Council of Local Government and co-chair of the CCCLM's Major Cities Working Group which includes capital city's plus Gold Coast, Newcastle, Wollongong and Geelong Councils. The CCCLM recently released a submission on National Urban Policy entitled "Towards a City Strategy" calling for a new era of city building and a raft of planning reforms.

Lord Mayor Sawyer has a background in Education and Multimedia. He was a teacher for 15 years and has been an advisor to the NT Department of Education on IT in teaching and learning environments. He was instrumental in establishing and running the QANTM Multimedia Centre as a part of the Federal Creative Nation Strategy and since 2001, has been the Managing Director of the eNTITy1 a business working in the internet, e-business, e-learning and multimedia areas. His expertise and focus is on research and development associated with new internet technologies and assisting public and private organisations to integrate these new technologies into their operations.

Lord Mayor Sawyer is co-founder of FrogWatch NT which has developed and implemented the ToadBuster strategy to stop the advance of cane toads in the Northern Territory. He has also worked on several national projects as a member of the WWF Rio Tinto Frogs Programme Education Panel and the FrogZone national project panel.

Productivity and Prosperity

Name Biography

Heather Ridout (Chair)
Chief Executive
Australian Industry Group

AIGis a leading industry association representing businesses in a broad range of sectors including manufacturing, construction, automotive, ICT, transport, defence, labour hire and other industries.

She has a deep interest in public policy and is a member of a number of key national policy setting and consultative groups including the National Workplace Relations Consultative Committee; Infrastructure Australia; and Skills Australia. She was also a member of the Henry Review of the Australian taxation system.

Nicole Lockwood
Shire of Roebourne

Ms Nicole Lockwood resides in Karratha and is also a Director of the Board of Horizon Power, a member of the Western Australian Planning Commission and a member of the Road Freight Transport Industry Council.

Nicole also holds a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Business from Notre Dame University and previously worked with the Pilbara Community Legal Service and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Ms Lockwood has a passion for regional development combined with a great breadth of local knowledge; and is looking forward to contributing strongly to the regional strategic focus of the Board.

Paul Howes
National Secretary
The Australian Workers' Union

Paul has more than a decade of union activism behind him - as an ordinary union member, as a union delegate, working for a peak trade union body and as an AWU official. The AWU now has around 135,000 members across Australia and has over 200 staff. Established 123-years ago, the AWU is the country's oldest and most diverse union, with 45 offices across non-metropolitan Australia. Paul serves on a number of Boards including as a director of the nation's largest superannuation fund AustralianSuper and in 2008 was elected as Vice President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

Alison Watt
Assistant Director
Economic Policy Branch
Tasmanian Department of Treasury and Finance

Alison manages the Economic Analysis Unit and has worked on a broad range of issues, including the potential impacts to Tasmania from demographic change. Alison is the Executive Officer of the Demographic Change Advisory Council, which was established by the Tasmanian Treasurer to undertake research and analysis of demographic change issues. Alison manages the secretariat, as well as the research program, for the Council.

Prior to working at Treasury, Alison worked at the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Office for National Statistics in the United Kingdom. Alison is the Tasmanian representative for the Australian Statistical Advisory Council and is on the Tasmanian committee for the Economic Society of Australia.

Mark Hunter
Residential at Stockland

Mark joined Stockland in 2000. With over 28 years experience in property, he has worked across many fields including planning, development, sales, marketing and design. Mark spent a number of years working with government and private sector developing affordable housing and infrastructure in new and emerging communities.

Mr Paul Low
Chief Executive Officer
Growth Management

Paul has extensive experience in various disciplines involved in transport planning and policy, urban and regional planning and infrastructure investment. This has included roles with economic development, transport and mains roads state government agencies in Qld, NSW and WA. Paul has also held infrastructure investment roles in the private sector and roles in local government.

Prior to commencing as CEO of Growth Management Qld, Paul has held roles as Associate Director-General of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and in the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation. Paul has also been a Deputy Director-General of Queensland's Department of Transport and Main Roads. As CEO of Growth Management Queensland, Paul is leading implementation of the Government's response to the Premier's Growth Management Summit held in March 2010. Growth Management Queensland will lead the State's urban and regional planning functions.

Dr. Barry Hughes

Chief Economist for the Australian operations of Credit Suisse First Boston for over 10 years. He was formerly Professor of Economics at the University of Newcastle. He has also held a variety of economic advisory positions with the Commonwealth Treasurer and State Premiers. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Princeton University Barry has had extensive experience in the political arena.

David Crombie
National Farmers' Federation

David Crombie brings over 30 years commercial and representational experience in agriculture to his role as President. Mr Crombie was a founding partner in GRM which owned and managed agricultural and livestock development projects across Northern Australia and overseas.

Sustainable Development

Name Biography

The Hon. Bob Carr (Chair)

The Hon. Bob Carr retired from politics after 10 years as Premier of the State of New South Wales. Entering politics in 1983, Mr Carr became leader of the Australian Labor Party in New South Wales in 1988 and led it to electoral victory in 1995. He led the party to two further landslide victories in 1999 and 2003, and retired undefeated in August 2005.

Mr Carr's interests and priorities ranged over conservation, literacy, tort law reform, medical research, the arts and economic development. His biggest achievements in office include hosting the most successful Olympic Games ever, achieving highest ever levels of literacy among school students, declaring 350 new national parks and enacting tough new greenhouse benchmarks.

Mr Carr received the World Conservation Union International Parks Merit Award in 1998. He received a Fulbright Distinguished Fellow Award in 1999 for a significant contribution to Australian-American relations. In 2004 he served as a member of Tony Blair's International Climate Change Taskforce.

Mr Carr is the author of three books, Thoughtlines, Reflections of a Public Man (2002), What Australia Means to Me (2003) and most recently My Reading Life (2008). He is also the subject of two biographies.

Don Henry
Executive Director
Australian Conservation Foundation

Don Henry has served as a Commissioner with the Australian Heritage Commission, President of the Australian Committee for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the Moreton Island Protection Committee.

In 1991 he was awarded a Global 500 Environment Award from the United Nations Environment Program. From 1989-92 he was the Australian Director of the World Wide Fund for Nature. He was then based in Washington DC with WWF, working as Director of the South Pacific program (1992-95), the Asia-Pacific program (1995-96) and the Global Forest program (1996-98).

Councillor Bob Abbot
Sunshine Coast

Bob Abbot was elected the first Mayor of the Sunshine Coast Regional Council in March 2008, he was formerly Mayor of the Noosa Shire Council for 11 years. During his 27 years in local government, Bob has demonstrated his commitment to achieving the best possible results for the community. This term he has given an undertaking to focus on:

  • Development of a Transport Strategy that will include a transport link between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane and an intra-regional public transport system.
  • Working local seniors groups to promote and better meet their needs.
  • Creating a service oriented Council culture and an organisation dedicated to good governance.
  • Pursuing environmental excellence, working with and developing genuine partnerships with community groups to provide ongoing support for their efforts to protect and enhance our natural environment.
Associate Professor Katharine Betts

Associate Professor Katharine Betts is with the Sociology Discipline at Swinburne University of Technology. She has been doing research in population studies for more than thirty years, beginning with fertility and family planning and the politics of immigration policy. Her current work focuses on the role of national identity in helping groups cope with the collective action problems posed by population growth and environmental stress.

Sam Mostyn
Director of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions
University of Sydney

Sam Mostyn is currently the Director of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at the University of Sydney. In this role she is responsible for building collaborative and cross disciplinary projects involving research excellence on a number of sustainability topics.

She is the Chair of the Stakeholder Advisory Council of the CSIRO's Climate Adaptation Flagship, a member of the NSW Climate Change Council and serves of the advisory board of ClimateWorks Australia.

Bill Forrest
CEO/Regional Director
ICLEI Oceania

Bill Forrest was appointed CEO / Regional Director of ICLEI Oceania in May 2010 and brings to the sustainability organisation 25 years' experience in local government, 15 of these at the Director / CEO level. ICLEI Oceania, the regional office of the international, not-for-profit organisation ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, has worked with hundreds of councils in Australia and New Zealand since 1997 to bring about sustainability improvements through local action.

Bill was previously the Chief Executive Officer of the Shire of Nillumbik until April 2010, a position he held for five years. Prior to this, he was Group Manager Environment and Planning Services, Nillumbik, and Director City Development, Moonee Valley City Council, for a period totalling ten years.

He has a Masters degree in Urban Planning, a Bachelor of Social Work and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Bill is also a Director of ECO-Buy Limited and a member of the State Adult, Community and Further Education (ACFE) Board.

Under Bill's leadership Nillumbik Shire Council became a leader in the areas of waste minimisation and diversion from landfill, street lighting, Water Smart Urban Design, watersmart playing fields, environmental education and biodiversity. Nillumbik has won a National Local Government innovation award for work in biodiversity and the 2010 Premiers Sustainability Award for Local Government for its work on environmental and community recovery in the aftermath of the bushfires. Bill was also recently awarded a Special Commendation as Chief Executive Officer of Nillumbik Shire Council at the SACS Leadership Awards, in recognition of his significant contribution to leadership in relation to the Victorian Bushfires.

John Sutton
National Secretary
  • Worked with the BWIU and CFMEU for 30 years as Organiser, Claims Officer, Industrial Officer, Co-ordinator, National Assistant Secretary of the BWIU and National Secretary of the Construction and General Division of the CFMEU for 13 years.
  • June 2006 was elected as National Secretary of the CFMEU
  • Vice-President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)
  • International President, Trade Union International of Building, Wood and Building Material Industries (UITBB) since 2002
  • The National Co-ordinator of ACTU Left Unions
  • The National Convenor of ALP Left Unions
  • ALP National Conference Delegate for many years
  • Membership of Boards, Committees etc
    • ACTU Executive, ACTU Growth & Campaign Committee, ACTU Finance Committee
    • CFMEU National Executive Committee, National Executive, National Conference
    • Industrial Superannuation Property Trust (ISPT)
    • United Super Pty Ltd (C+BUS) - Board and Investment Committee
    • Australian Construction Industry Redundancy Trust (ACIRT)
    • Department of Fair Trading Home Building Advisory Council
    • Construction Forecasting Council
    • Skilled Migration Consultative Panel of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC)
    • National Resources Sector Employment Taskforce
    • Building & Construction Industry Tax Forum
  • Has a B.Econ (Hons.) from the University of Sydney
Susan Close
Executive Director
Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Government of South Australia

Susan Close has a PhD in political science and has worked professionally in the sustainability field for the past 10 years. Her roles have included executive support for the SA Premier's Round Table on Sustainability when it was chaired by Tim Flannery; senior environment adviser to the SA Minister for Environment and Conservation; and Director of Sustainability and Strategy for the SA Planning and Local Government department where she initiated the 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide. She is currently the Executive Director, Strategy for the SA Environment and Natural Resources department.

While a student Susan was active in the environment movement, working for Greenpeace in the late 1980s and serving as president of the SA branch of The Wilderness Society and on the board of the Conservation Council SA in the early 1990s.