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Professor John Thwaites

Monash Sustainable Development Institute & ClimateWorks Australia
T: +61 3 9902 0741

John Thwaites is a Professorial Fellow, Monash University and Chair of ClimateWorks Australia and the Monash Sustainable Development Institute. He is a consultant at Maddocks Solicitors providing advice to the firm and its clients on climate change, water, sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He is one of six Co-Chairs of the Leadership Council of the global Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). Launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2012, the Network provides expert advice and support on the development of the post-2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

John chairs the Australian Building Codes Board, the Peter Cullen Water and Environment Trust and is a Director of the Australian Green Building Council. He was previously Chair of the National Sustainability Council, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, the Climate Group Ltd in Australia and a Director of the Harold Mitchell Foundation. In 2008 -2009, John was a special adviser to the Timor-Leste Minister for Infrastructure and helped develop an Infrastructure plan for Timor-Leste. He has advised state and local governments on climate change and energy policy.

In 2012, John was named one of the top 100 Global Sustainability Leaders by ABC Carbon and Sustainability Showcase Asia. He chairs a project with the Brotherhood of St Laurence to develop policies to assist low-income Australians cope with the impact of climate change and chaired a joint Brotherhood of St Laurence/KPMG Report on a national energy efficiency program for low income households.

John was Deputy Premier of Victoria from 1999 until his retirement in 2007. During this period he was Minister for Health, Minister for Planning, Minister for Environment, Minister for Water, Minister for Victorian Communities and Victoria's first Minister for Climate Change. In these portfolios he was responsible for major reforms in social policy, health, environment and water. John was a Member of the Victorian Parliament from 1992 to 2007, and was a barrister prior to entering Parliament. He was a Councillor City of South Melbourne (1985-1993) and Mayor in 1991-1992. He has degrees in Law (Honours) and Science from Monash University.

Some key initiatives led by John Thwaites:

  • Reform of water policy in Victoria including giving the environment a legislative right to water for the first time, major water infrastructure upgrades across the state and the most successful water conservation program in Australia.
  • Action on climate change including Victoria's renewable energy target, 5-star energy and water efficiency standards for all new homes, mandatory energy audits and implementation plans for major industry, and an energy efficiency target scheme for households (VEET).
  • Major expansion and improvement of Victoria's National Park system including the Great Otway National Park and ending cattle grazing in the Alpine National Park.
  • Leading the government's social policy A Fairer Victoria to reduce disadvantage with major initiatives in early childhood support, neighbourhood renewal, family support, housing, mental health and community building.
  • Major hospital building program (Austin, Royal Womens, Casey etc) and reforming hospital funding to provide significant growth funds for prevention and rehabilitation.
  • Introducing a new residential planning framework for Victoria and instigating Melbourne 2030