2018 Stormwater Victoria Conference
WEDNESDAY 6TH – FRIDAY 8TH June, 2018 | sheraton melbourne hotel, VICTORIA
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Keynote Speakers


Dr Andre Taylor

André’s personal mission is to help leaders to fulfil their potential and enable positive change through leadership development, team development and facilitation work.

He is a leadership development specialist, sustainability and water practitioner, educator, coach and facilitator.

He has worked in the water / waterway sector for most of his 27 year career. Over this time he has worked in consultancies, local government, State government and in academia.

He has a Bachelor of Science with first-class honours, a Master of Environmental Management, and a PhD that examined the ‘champion phenomenon’ in the water sector.

Current roles include:

  • Leadership Specialist with the International WaterCentre.
  • Course Coordinator of the ‘Leadership in a Complex Environment’ MBAx course at the University of NSW Business School.
  • Class Facilitator of the ‘Leading Change for Sustainable Development’ Masters course at Monash University.
  • Director of André Taylor Consulting.

Former roles include:

  • Chair, Research Advisory Subcommittee for Adoption Pathways, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities.
  • Chair, Integrated Urban Water Scientific Expert Panel, Healthy Waterways (Qld).
  • Principal Program Officer (Water Quality), Brisbane City Council.

Keynote Presentation:

Leadership to Deliver Water Sensitive Communities: The Case for a New Mindset

This presentation will explore the role of leadership in accelerating the process of building water sensitive communities. Specifically, it will encourage conference participants to adopt a new mindset with respect to the style of leadership that is best suited to address this challenge, and provide practical guidance on how we can use this style.

Leadership is not a position. It is a process of influence that delivers direction, alignment of activities towards that direction, and personal commitment to collective success. As such, it's a group based process that is central to driving change. From this perspective, all conference participants potentially have a role to play in processes of influence (leadership) that aim to deliver more sustainable forms of water management.

This presentation will draw on complexity leadership theory, the concept of 'adaptive leadership' and Dr Taylor's own experience as a water practitioner and leadership development specialist to explore how stormwater practitioners can adopt new approaches to leadership in the context of advancing water sensitive communities. It will make the case that leadership is central to driving change, clarify the difference between technical and complex challenges, and explain why adaptive leadership is needed to address complex challenges. Through personal stories, Dr Taylor will explain 5 practices for adaptive leadership that conference participants can use to accelerate our progress in building water sensitive communities in Victoria.


David Holmgren

David Holmgren is best known as the co-originator with Bill Mollison of the permaculture concept following the publication of Permaculture One in 1978. Since then he has developed three properties, consulted and supervised in urban and rural projects and presented lectures, workshops and courses at a wide variety of events and venues in Australia and around the world. His writings over those three decades span a diversity of subjects and issues but always illuminating another aspect of permaculture thinking.

At home (Melliodora in Hepburn, Central Victoria), David is the vegetable gardener, silviculturalist and builder. Within the international and growing permaculture movement, David is respected for his commitment to presenting permaculture ideas through practical projects and teaching by personal example, that a sustainable lifestyle is a realistic, attractive and powerful alternative to dependent consumerism.

As well as constant involvement in the practical side of permaculture, David is passionate about the philosophical and conceptual foundations for sustainability, the focus of his seminal book Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability.  This book has been significant influences on the development of Transition Initiatives around the world. More recently his Future Scenarios work has seen him recognised as a significant thinker about the “Energy Descent future.” After a decade of significant international travel, David is no longer flying but continues to do some international presentations by skype and pre-recorded video including receipt of the recent award by Italian environmental organisation.

Keynote Presentation:

Retrosuburbia: A Bottom Up Alternative Pathway to Water Sensitive Communities

Attitudes to, and designs for, dealing with stormwater are changing from a plumbing drainage model to one aimed to store, slow, spread, filter and sink water. While the pace of residential and other urban development has provided opportunities for the installation of innovative infrastructure reflecting the water sensitive paradigm, the bursting of the Australian property bubble could radically reduce the opportunities for greenfields projects and capacities of governments to fund new infrastructure development. The future of water sensitive design thus lies in retrofitting.

Retrosuburbia is a rubric for retrofitting the built, biological and behavioural aspects of Australian suburban life using permaculture designs and patterns. This will build resilience to energy descent futures that will flow from climate change, energy crises and economic contraction and are not currently being addressed by government planning. These permaculture design responses, focused at the household and community level, could achieve the goal of water sensitive communities as one of a myriad of positive outcomes.

Retrosuburbia starts in the backyard but moves into the street and the public space to create a whole-of-landscape commons by incremental retrofit.

Retrosuburbia contributes to water sensitive communities through householder-driven retrofits to detain and reuse water, primarily for garden and urban farming. While water storage and its timely reuse is an obvious aspect, increasing the water- and nutrient-holding capacity of soils is the potential game changer. Organic practices, mineral rebalancing, biochar, perennial plant systems, swales, wicking beds and aquaponics are some of the elements of intensive permaculture systems that can increase the capacity of suburban landscapes to detain, filter and reuse water from roof and other hard surface runoff.

Retrofitting to create a closed loop system reinforces that there is no “away” to send unwanted contaminants and toxins to.


Councillor Amanda Stone

Cr Amanda Stone was elected in October 2016 and is a representative of the Langridge Ward. She was elected Mayor for 2016/2017.

Cr Stone was first elected to Yarra Council in November 2008 and re-elected in October 2012. She served as Yarra’s 2008-09 Mayor.

Protect Yarra's liveability, environment and heritage

A community activist involved in campaigns to protect Yarra's liveability, environment and heritage, she believes that the challenges of a changing city can only be met by council in partnership with the community.

Protect the Yarra River

A long term Yarra resident, Cr Stone has a special passion for protecting the Yarra River from the impacts of built developments, to retain it as a special place for all Melburnians. She’s also a strong supporter of Yarra as a creative city where the arts and creative industries flourish.

An advocate for a green and sustainable Yarra, Cr Stone believes it is important that we continue our efforts towards a carbon neutral city and that we ensure the most vulnerable in our city are not unfairly impacted by the effects of climate change.

She acknowledges the vital role of trees and green spaces in cooling the city. and believes a better designed city, would also help to meet the challenges of a warmer climate and provide an opportunity to honour Yarra’s unique heritage.

Vision for Yarra

Cr Stone’s vision for Yarra is of a city that can accommodate a growing population in high quality, sustainable buildings, with great public spaces and easy access to active transport. She is a strong advocate for a fair and equitable city and nurturing a healthy and strong community, where no-one is left behind.

Professional background

An education consultant who has previously worked as a teacher, student counsellor and assistant principal, Cr Stone holds a Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Diplomas in Education and Child Psychology as well as GAICD.

Cr Stone is Chairperson on the board of one of Australia's longest-serving aid agencies Partners in Aid, she chairs the Collingwood headspace Consortium and is a member of the Greens.

Keynote Presentation:

Water Sensitive Communities Driving Change – The Yarra River Protection Act

On the shortest day of 2017, six Wurrundjeri elders stood in the Victorian State Parliament for the first time to support the landmark Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Bill 2017.  In speaking to the bill, they described their connection to the Birrarung (Yarra River) and its importance to the Wurrundjeri.

The Birrarung have been central to the Wurrundjeri’s cultural, spiritual, social, and economic wellbeing. 

With this bill, said Auntie Alice Kolasa, “The state has recognised something we have always known. That the Birrarung is one integrated living entity.”

This was the first river in Australia to be accorded the legal status of living entity and marks the end of decades of advocacy by communities, both indigenous and newer arrivals to this continent.

The history of the Yarra River, Melbourne’s largest waterway and biggest drain, is one of human connection, appreciation, abuse and reverence. It extends back in time to its integral role in the life of the Wurrundjeri, through its attraction to early settlers as the site for a new colony, its function as a sewer and drain over 200 years, a receptacle for the waste products of early industries, a source of pleasure through recreational boating, swimming and picnicking, and more recently, the location of new, high density housing-with-a-view.

The Yarra River provides most of Melbourne’s drinking water; it’s also the primary destination of our storm water and all it carries.

It provides habitat for our iconic fauna and is a place of retreat and refuge for people in a growing, more intense urban environment.

Its role as both life giver and waste receptacle has been integral to centuries of human settlement.

The story of our connection to our greatest physical landmark, from early settlement to our “turning back” towards the river in the 1980s, and the recent strong urgent push to recognise and protect it as a living system on which we rely, is arguably one of water sensitive communities. It’s both a story with a happy ending for now, but a cautionary tale for the future.




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