Please click on the individual speakers photos to read more about them. 

Opening Address

  • The Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore

    The Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore
    The Lord Mayor of Sydney, NSW Government

    Clover Moore was elected Lord Mayor of Sydney in 2004, the first popularly elected woman to lead the City of Sydney. She is also the longest serving Mayor since city government incorporation in 1842.  She was re-elected for her fourth term in 2016 with her Independent team receiving a 10% swing.

    Clover also served as an Independent member of the NSW Parliament from March 1988 to September 2012, and was concurrently Lord Mayor and Member for Sydney for 8 years until the State legislated against the one person holding both positions.

    Throughout her public life, in both State and Local Governments, Clover has championed progressive policies, achieving reforms which increase government transparency, champion our environment and protect the vulnerable.

    As Lord Mayor, Clover initiated Sustainable Sydney 2030, an internationally renowned long term plan to secure Sydney’s future as a leading green liveable and creative city. This plan includes ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse emissions. In 2007, the City became the first government in Australia to be carbon neutral, and in 2014 received the European Solar Prize for its Renewable Energy Master Plan.  The City will use 100% renewable energy by 2020 and have reduced emissions by 70% by 2024.

    Under her leadership, the City of Sydney has developed a global reputation for delivering award winning facilities; protecting and enhancing open space; promoting design excellence for private development; delivering new transport options, particularly safe cycling; promoting and expanding the City’s cultural and creative life and initiating progressive solutions to complex city social problems such as affordable housing and related homelessness.

Welcome to Country

  • Uncle Allan Murray

    Uncle Allan Murray
    Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council

    Mr Allan Murray is a decedent of the Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi nation were his parents belong to. His father is a stolen generation and he comes from the Cummunga village on the Murray River. His mother is from north west of NSW, a little town ship called Walgett which is in the heart of the Kamilario nation. Allan has held both the chairperson and deputy chairperson role of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council and has been a member of the Land Council for more than 15 years. Mr Murray is back by a solid board who are task to bring change, strive for economic and self determination to represent 17,000 Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people who reside in the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council boundaries. He has several qualifications in business management and human resources practices. And hope to go forward in providing leadership to the members, more so to assist our youth and continue the recognition of our elders who are the gate keepers of knowledge, respect and wisdom. 

Keynote Speaker

  • Professor Cecil Konijnendijk

    Professor Cecil Konijnendijk
    Professor in the Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada

    Cecil Konijnendijk, a Dutch national, is a Professor in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He studies, teaches, and advises on the role of trees and green space in our cities and towns. His particular interests include green space governance, people-nature relationships and cultural ecosystem services, and implementation of urban forestry and urban greening programs.

    Before starting at UBC in summer 2016, Cecil’s previous employers included, among other, the European Forest Institute, the University of Copenhagen, the University of Hong Kong, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. At the latter he was Head of the Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management. At UBC Cecil heads the Urban Forestry Research In Action (UFORIA) lab, a group of urban forestry scholars from four different continents. Cecil’s research has taken him across the globe where he has worked in close dialogue with decision-makers and practitioners, from the local to the international level.

    Cecil is founding editor-in-chief of the SCI journal ‘Urban Forestry & Urban Greening’ and editor of the Springer ‘Future City’ book series. He is a prolific writer, and has authored close to 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, while he also (co-)authored books such as ‘Urban Forests and Trees’, ‘The City and the Forest: the cultural landscape of urban woodland’ and the ‘Routledge Handbook of Urban Forestry’. Cecil holds guest or visiting professorships at a number of Chinese institutions, including the Chinese Academy of Forestry and the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University.


  • Ben Peacock

    Ben Peacock
    Greener Spaces Better Places

    Ben is a writer, cancer survivor and a founder of Australia's #1 do-good agency, Republic of Everyone.

    He’s on a mission to help create 100 ideas that make the world a better place. So far the list includes the multi-award winning Garage Sale Trail and Greener Spaces Better Places, a game-changing project to make Australia's cities the greenest in the world. 

    He believes that everyone should make it their business to leave the world better than they found it and sustainability, community and communications are three of the keys to making that happen.


  • Dr Libby Gallagher

    Dr Libby Gallagher
    Director, Gallagher Studio

    Libby is a landscape architect and director of Gallagher Studio. Libby has delivered innovative public domain, strategic and urban design projects whilst in practice in the UK, Canada, and the Asia pacific. Libby has dedicated the last 10 years to researching the design and delivery of high-quality public spaces to address climate change and has completed a PHD focused on climate adaptation for urban streets. Gallagher studio’s Cool Streets pilot project in Western Sydney, based on this PHD research won an AILA 2017 National Award of Excellence. She co-authored the NSW Government’s Urban Tree Canopy Guide and has taught in undergraduate and graduate programs at UNSW, UTS and USYD.

  • Dr Sara Barron

    Dr Sara Barron
    Lecturer, University of Melbourne

    Sara Barron has joined the School of Ecosystem and Forest Science at the University of Melbourne as a lecturer in urban horticulture. She comes from the University of British Columbia (UBC) where she helped develop their new Bachelor of Urban Forestry program while completing a PhD in urban forestry. Her doctoral research focused on how suburban landscapes can be re-imagined to balance healthy suburban forests with higher density housing. Prior to starting her PhD, Sara worked for a number of years on large-scale sustainable community planning and climate change research projects with both the Design Centre for Sustainability and the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning. Her current research interests include scaleable design interventions to help facilitate the creation of healthy, climate-ready cities of the future.

  • Dr Sujata Allan

    Dr Sujata Allan

    Dr Sujata Allan is a GP currently working in an Aboriginal Health Service in Armidale (NSW), is a senior lecturer at the School of Rural Medicine at the University of New England, and is on the national management committee of Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA). She has spoken at community events and conferences around NSW and interstate about the impact of air pollution, fossil fuels and climate change on health, and organizes educational events for health professionals on climate change and health. She was involved in environmental sustainability initiatives at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in 2015 and 2016. She completed the Community Organising Fellowship in 2016. DEA is a non-profit organisation of doctors and medical students, dedicated to raising awareness of the health impacts of environmental degradation and climate change, and advocating to promote public health.

  • Karen Sweeney

    Karen Sweeney
    Urban Forest Manager, City of Sydney Council

    Karen Sweeney is the Urban Forest Manager for the City of Sydney Council. Karen has worked in local government for over 20 years in all aspects of tree management and urban forestry; including operations, contract management and policy development. She has technical qualifications in Arboriculture, Landscape Design and Parks and Gardens, and has completed a Master in Business Administration.

    In the last 16 years Karen has been strategically managing the City of Sydney’s urban forest and the City’s tree management team. During this time, she has led the development and implementation of a suite of urban forest and tree management strategies and policies, resulting in an increase in canopy cover. Karen is currently leading the strategic review and development of the City’s next generation Greening Sydney Strategy. Karen is responsible for the direction of Sydney's urban forest in a physically and politically challenging environment.

  • Martin Hartigan

    Martin Hartigan
    Living Melbourne Program Manager, Resilient Melbourne and The Nature Conservancy

    As Urban Conservation Manager at The Nature Conservancy, Martin led the development of Living Melbourne: our metropolitan urban forest strategy. Martin has experience in managing sustainability teams in local government, developing and implementing environmental strategy. Previously, he worked in catchment management and environmental policy domains and was the inaugural coordinator of the Inner Melbourne Action Plan group of councils responsible for directing multiple projects across various professional disciplines in an innovative governance environment. He enjoys facilitating regional governance approaches to complex problems. Martin is currently the Living Melbourne Program Manager, embedded in Resilient Melbourne and tasked with implementing the Living Melbourne strategy.

  • Professor Thomas Astell-Burt

    Professor Thomas Astell-Burt
    Professor of Population Health and Environmental Data Science

    Thomas Astell-Burt is the Professor of Population Health and Environmental Data Science and the Founding Co-Director of the Population Wellbeing and Environment Research Lab (PowerLab) at the University of Wollongong (UOW). Thomas is also an NHMRC Boosting Dementia Research Leadership Fellow (1 of only 4 awarded in public health in Australia). Thomas has a long-standing interest in the relationship between nature and human health, especially on the potential of green space to enrich environments for prevention of Alzheimer's disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus in cities.


  • Ross Clark

    Ross Clark
    Director, Trees Impact Pty Ltd

    Since graduating in Forestry and a following brief academic career, Ross has worked continuously in the production and improvement of landscape trees. He is now a leading consultant, adviser and industry spokesperson for improved tree quality and specifications, frequently conducts clinics, addresses seminars for industry groups and lectures at educational institutions. He created the "NATSPEC" specification for trees (published by Construction Information Systems P/L in 1996 and revised in 2003) which became widely accepted as the industry's strictest standard.  This standard was adopted by the nursery industry (in a slightly modified form) as AS 2303:2015, which has now evolved into AS 2303:2018 Tree stock for landscape use.  Ross was on the committee charged with the creation of AS 2303:2018 and was heavily involved with ensuring the inclusion of a number of key criteria.  In addition to continuing to help grow the very best larger trees available, grown at Karignan Plantation and marketed through Trees Impact, his more recent focus is looking at the success of our Urban Trees more holistically.

  • Steve Hartley

    Steve Hartley
    Executive Director, Green and Resilient Places Division, Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

    Steve Hartley is the Executive Director of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s Green and Resilient Places Division. Steve is leading work aimed at embedding sustainability and resilience into planning process, with the goal of improving the people’s lives and the sustainability of the places we live, work and love. This work includes embedding green infrastructure, water sensitive urban design and managing natural and human induced risks into strategic decision making, upfront assessment and design, triple bottom line decision making and program delivery. Steve is an ecological economist by training, and in his time with government has worked in policy, operational and regulatory roles across environmental and natural resource management including water, waste, native forestry, biodiversity and strategic planning. 


Workshop Facilitator

  • Dr Carol Richards

    Dr Carol Richards
    Consulting Educationist

    For over 50 years Dr Carol Richards has been involved in teaching both primary and secondary schools, lecturing at Newcastle University, and presenting workshops in the US, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Australia.

    Her passion is in the area of Pedagogy – being able to find creative and ways to achieve learning and engagement.


  • John Sutton

    John Sutton

    John Sutton has been an environmental campaigner and advocate since the 1970s. Since moving to NSW in the early 1980s his activism has been focussed primarily around improving the environment of his local community in Newcastle. 

    In the late 1980s he helped to form Australia’s first urban Landcare group, which played a vital role in a ground-breaking and highly successful community and government campaign to transform Newcastle’s Throsby Creek from a dirty, neglected urban stormwater drain into a highly valued environmental and recreational asset. 

    John also worked professionally for nearly three decades as a journalist and communication academic. As a campaigner, elected representative and communication professional, John has filled a wide range of organisational roles, including chairing and facilitating many public meetings, forums, working groups, and committees.