Water Security Series: The Melbourne Region Healthy Waterways Strategy

Engineers Australia, 600 Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000

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Join us for a presentation and panel discussion on 'The Melbourne region Healthy Waterways Strategy' as part of the University of Melbourne's Water Security Series.

As Melbourne’s population grows and climate change impacts increase, the waterways of the region will be put under greater stress. Efforts to improve water quality, ecologic function and the amenity value of the waterways will need to be increased. The recently completed Melbourne region Healthy Waterways Strategy has established a new vision for the health of rivers, estuaries and wetlands in the Port Phillip and Westernport region. Developed using a novel co-design process involving a large number of stakeholders, the strategy is now being implemented with the help of five catchment groups across the Port Phillip and Westernport region.

The seminar panellists will present and answer audience questions on various aspects of the strategy, including the design, salience to state environmental policy, the role of local government and how science underpins it.

Speaker Biographies

Chair: Prof Rob Vertessy, University of Melbourne

Rob Vertessy has led a distinguished career in water research since graduating with a PhD from the Australian National University in fluvial geomorphology. After leading the Cooperative Research Centre for Catchment Hydrology then CSIRO’s Land and Water Division, he joined the Bureau of Meteorology where he served as the Bureau’s CEO and represented Australia at the World Meteorological Organization.

Professor Vertessy currently conducts research on climate change and water security as an enterprise professor with the University of Melbourne’s School of Engineering, and chairs the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering’s water forum and the Murray Darling Basin Authority Advisory Committee on Social, Economic and Environmental Science.

Gerald Fitzgibbon, Melbourne Water

Gerald is a graduate of the University of Melbourne Civil Engineering School with over 30 years’ experience working in the private and public water sectors. He has lead teams in Australia, Asia and North America, in business transformation, operations management and business development. His broad career has given him technical and commercial experience in the planning, design and construction of municipal and industrial water, wastewater and drainage systems. As the General Manager for Asset Management Services at Melbourne Water, he is the Sponsor for the implementation of the Healthy Waterways Strategy (HWS). The co-design of the HWS brought together nearly 250 organisations over a period of two years. The result is an ambitious, long term, evidence-based approach to managing waterway health in the face of climate change, urbanisation and population growth.

Rosemary Hancock, Municipal Association of Victoria

Rosemary Hancock is currently Manager of Water and Public Health at the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV). During her extensive time at the MAV she has been involved in a variety of policy areas involving regulatory reform and interaction between federal, state and local governments. In the water portfolio her priorities are guided by how more effective water management can contribute to the liveability of our communities now and into the future. She’s keen to explore ways councils can collaborate together to meet the perfect storm on our doorstep of population growth and ever-increasing urbanisation occurring at the same time a changing climate is challenging the way public infrastructure needs to work to meet multiple community and environmental needs. She’s a strong supporter of the strength and experience residing in local government.

Michelle Dickson, Blue Sence Consulting

Michelle is the current Chair of the Melbourne Water Healthy Waterways Strategy Science Panel. Michelle is an independent consultant with a focus on strategy, evaluation and collaboration and has a particular interest in waterway, coastal and catchment management. She specialises in participatory processes that bring together policy, science and community perspectives to inform decision making. Michelle has worked across Victoria and Australia and has experience in both the public sector and in consultancy. She is a director of Destination Gippsland and is current Chair of the Wilsons Promontory National Park Advisory Group.

Prof Tim Fletcher, University of Melbourne

Tim Fletcher is a Professor of Urban Ecohydrology at the University of Melbourne. He is internationally regarded for his expertise in waterway and stormwater management. His research focus includes urban hydrology, stormwater quality and the design and performance of stormwater treatment and harvesting systems. Tim co-leads the Melbourne Waterway Research Practice Partnership at the University of Melbourne. He is an author of the industry-standard Model for Urban Stormwater Improvement Conceptualisation (MUSIC) and in 2011 received a prestigious Australian Research Council Future Fellowship. Tim is a former Invited Professor at INSA Lyon (2008-9) and is co-chair of the Novatech conference, one of the leading international conferences on integrated urban water management.

Amber Perry, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

Amber Perry has over 17 years’ experience as a water and catchment management professional across Victoria and Queensland, successfully leading a range of programs in the areas of policy, science, stakeholder and community engagement. Amber is currently the Manager for Policy and Strategy within the Waterway Programs Branch of the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. In this role, she leads the team responsible for state-wide strategies, policies and programs that improve waterway health across Victoria. This includes the Victorian Waterway Management Strategy and Water for Victoria and oversight of regional waterway management by CMAs and Melbourne.