The 2017 Fiona Wain Oration will be delivered by Maria Atkinson AM. The oration is Australia’s most prestigious sustainable business event - honouring the memory of an international pioneer in the field.
Maria joins previous givers of the address - Dr Ken Henry AC (2016), Amanda McKenzie (2015) and Greg Bourne (2014).
Maria is currently a Commissioner of the Greater Cities Commission and a director of multiple organisations including the Ethics Centre. Maria has built her career around the economics of urban sustainability; she co-founded Green Building Council of Australia and played an important role at Lend Lease in delivering Sydney’s ‘Green Olympics’, later becoming their Global Head of Sustainability.
The theme for this year’s Oration is SDGs and the City. Over half the world’s population lives in a city. That is projected to grow by 60 per cent by 2030. Despite world cities occupying just three per cent of the earth’s land surface they account for approximately three quarters of energy consumption and carbon emissions. Developing ways to support and sustain the rapid growth of Australia’s cities is imperative to delivering positive social outcomes and minimising environmental impacts.
Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals is to ‘Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’. Can Australia do this? Could this goal be a blueprint in which to enhance access to sustainable, safe and addfordable housing, transport and economic infrastructure? How could planning for Australia’s future embrace ecological and inclusive sustainable development while meeting the needs for economic growth ?
Maria’s address wlll be delivered at the NSW Art Gallery on Monday, 29 May 2017 at 2pm. Symbolically that night, Sydney’s third carbon neutral Vivid will illuminate city features such as Barangaroo - the first CBD precinct in Australia to be climate positive.