University of Canberra
CURF Annual Forum 2019 | UN Sustainable Development Goals for the Canberra Region
Posted 16 August 2019 3:26pm

The CURF Annual Forum in 2019 examined the role of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Canberra Region. 

Friday 15 November 2019

Download a copy of the program here: PROGRAM

The panel of speakers: 

Lachlan Hunter, Executive Director of the United Nations Association of Australia 

Copy of Presentation Lachlan Hunter

Angelene Jojy, Nandini Rajpurohit & Taneisha Chong, Young Persons' Plan for the Planet

Copy of Presentation Young Persons' Plan for the Planet

Ian Chambers, Young Persons' Plan for the Planet

Leesa Croke, Deputy Director-General, Policy & Cabinet Division, Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate, ACT Government 

Copy of Presentation Leesa Croke

Charlie Prell, Sheep Grazier Crookwell and Deputy Chair Farmers for Climate Action 

Copy of Presentation Charlie Prell

Dr Ro McFarlane, Assistant Professor, Public Health, University of Canberra

Copy of Presentation Ro McFarlane

Dr Maxine Cooper, Adjunct Professor University of Canberra and Chair Landcare ACT 

Copy of Presentation Maxine Cooper

Professor Barbara Norman, CURF Director

David Flannery, Moderator

Copy of Presentation David Flannery


Lachlan Hunter

Lachlan is Executive Director of the United Nations Association of Australia, the peak body for promoting the UN and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Australia.  

Previously, Lachlan was an Executive at Chief Executive Women (CEW), a not-for-profit promoting gender balance and women in leadership, where he worked on building relationships with business, developing CEW's Indigenous engagement and the release of a report on the backlash to women in leadership.

Prior to this, Lachlan worked for the Australian Government, including roles at the Department of Human Services, in Ministerial Offices, designing and delivering Norfolk Island Reform and living and working on remote communities in the West Kimberley.

Lachlan also worked in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in Indigenous Youth Policy and setting up STEM Academies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls. Lachlan was a leader in the PM&C Women's Network, focused on increasing participation and addressing the gender imbalance in the take up of flexible and part time work. Lachlan's career started in service delivery and roles working in immigration detention and for Centrelink, where he worked to support improved services for vulnerable peoples and those under stress.

Ian Chambers


Ian Chambers is the Director of the Young Persons Plan for the Planet Program and has a career that has spanned a range of executive roles in global and national corporates in Europe and Australia.

He developed and published a Plan for the Planet (Chambers and Humble, 2012) based on his work with global corporates and government by leveraging unique insights into global management and sustainability.

He has an MBA (AGSM), BSW (UNSW) and is currently completing a PhD in global sustainability at the Australian National University. 

Charlie Prell

Charlie Prell is a sheep farmer from Crookwell, an hour north of Canberra, in the Southern Tablelands of NSW.

He is one of four farmers under the Crookwell 2 windfarm. He has had 19 years of experience in renewables, focusing on wind farms. He is a strong public supporter of the benefits wind farms can bring to small regional communities. He is a passionate advocate for an inclusive “benefit sharing” model for wind farm developments, where the whole community benefits from a windfarm, not just the few who host the turbines. He has been working as the NSW Regional Organiser for the Australian Wind Alliance since July 2014.

He was part of the working group and then the steering committee that formed “Farmers for Climate Action”. He was previously co-chair and is currently deputy chair of Farmers for Climate Action. He is passionate about the health and well-being of small regional communities and in assisting these communities to meet the challenge of climate change. He also promotes the opportunities that meeting these challenges can bring to individual farmers and the small regional communities where they live.

Leesa Croke

Leesa Croke is a Deputy Director-General,  Policy and Cabinet Division, Chief Minister, Treasury, and Economic Development Directorate with the ACT Government.

In February 2017, Leesa commenced in the position of Deputy Director-General, Policy & Cabinet Division within ACT Government’s Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate (CMTEDD). Policy and Cabinet Division provides advice and direction across the ACT Public Service on policy matters, incorporating a central agency coordination role in strategic planning, social and economic policy, regional policy and engagement.

Leesa is responsible for the design of the Wellbeing Indicators project due for implementation in 2020. The ACT Government is developing this framework of Wellbeing Indicators to monitor progress across a broad range of areas that reflect the values of Canberrans and influence our quality of life.

Prior to commencing with CMTEDD, Leesa moved to the Macroeconomic Group in Treasury to take up the position of Division Head, International Policy and Engagement Division.  This Division is responsible for providing advice on international economic developments, manages Australia’s bilateral and multilateral relationships, and supports Australia’s participation in international financial institutions and multilateral development banks, monitors the ongoing developments in international economies and their implications for Australia. 

Leesa joined the Treasury in July 2013 to take up the position of Division Head, Social Policy Division in Fiscal Group.  Social Policy Division is responsible for the provision of advice on wide ranging social policy issues, the social security system, health and labour market issues.

Prior to 2013, Leesa was working in the Department of Social Services (DSS) as the Group Manager responsible for problem gambling. In her long career in DSS Leesa has worked on a number of Australian Government programs including Paid Parental Leave, social housing and homelessness policy and programs, child care programs and income management.

From early 2008 through to late 2009, Leesa worked in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.  During this time, Leesa worked on wide ranging issues including early childhood and child care, housing and homelessness, the new federal financial arrangements through Council of Australian Governments and responses to the Victorian bushfires and the Global Financial Crisis.

Dr Maxine Cooper

Dr Cooper is the former Auditor-General for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and now an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra and Chair of Landcare ACT.  Prior to being appointed as the ACT Auditor-General, Dr Cooper was the ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment and the Head of the ACT Water Security Taskforce.  Dr Cooper has held many senior executive roles in the ACT Government as well as other Australian jurisdictions and private practice. 

Dr Cooper has a PhD (Melbourne University); Masters of Environmental Science (Calgary University, Canada); Bachelor of Arts - Urban & Regional Planning from the Western Australian Institute of Technology (WAIT) (now Curtin University), Western Australia.  She is a Fulbright Fellow (USA) and Commonwealth Scholarship holder (Canada) and is a Fellow of the Planning Institute and the Australian and New Zealand Environment Institute.

Dr Cooper’s career has been as a senior executive in a wide range of government areas both in the ACT and in other Australian jurisdictions.  In her early career she worked in private practice. She retired in 2018 as  ACT Auditor-General having held that role since 2011.  She was previously Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, and prior to that, Head of the ACT Water Security Taskforce.

Assistant Professor Dr Ro McFarlane


Ro McFarlane is an Environment and Health* academic at the University of Canberra. Her work is focused on optimising co-benefits for health in interdependent human and natural systems.

Ro brings together unique expertise from her professional experience in livestock and wildlife, ecosystem and human population health and her international collaborations to develop knowledge and education.  She completed a PhD at ANU in 2014 under supervision of Professor Tony McMichael, pioneering epidemiologist on the effects of global ecological change. She co-developed the first Masters of Ecological Public Health at the University of Canberra in 2016.

Ro has led Linking Human, Wildlife and Ecosystem Health workshops for International Union Conservation of Nature, is a contributing author to the World Health Organisation’s Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health. A State of Knowledge Review and is currently working with the International Union of Forest Research Organisations on the Impacts on Forests and People of the Sustainable Development Goals with SDG3 (Health).  Her current research is in enhancing the health linkages in ecosystem service frameworks, zoonotic disease ecology and examining the impact of quality of parks and greenspace on health and wellbeing.

Ro works extensively with community groups and government to develop landscape-level health solutions. She facilitated the declaration of the 9.8 million ha Ngaanyatjarra Indigenous Protected Area, W.A., and was an instigator of Australian Antarctic Division’s biosecurity measures to protect Antarctic wildlife from human and livestock diseases. She has a long association with Landcare in NSW, ACT and NT , Catchment Management Associations and working with schools and education bodies. She is also a parent and a farmer.


Professor Barbara Norman

Barbara Norman is the Foundation Chair of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Canberra. Professor Norman is Director of Canberra Urban and Regional Futures (CURF) and an Adjunct Professor with The Australian National University. Until 2019 Barbara was Chair of the ACT Climate Council.  She is a Life Fellow and past national president of the Planning Institute of Australia and Life Honorary Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute (UK).

Barbara’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Town & Regional Planning, Masters of Environmental Law and a PhD on sustainable coastal planning. She has a substantial professional background having worked at all levels of government and run her own practice for over 20 years. Her current research and teaching interests include sustainable cities and regions, coastal planning, climate change adaptation and urban governance. Barbara was a contributing author to IPCC 5 WG 2 report on Impacts 2014.

Barbara advises the public and private sector in Australia and has strong international linkages within Asia, Europe and the United States. Barbara was awarded an Australian Centenary Medal for her contribution to the community through urban and regional planning.

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