Council establishes Blue Mountains Planetary Health Advisory Committee
As one of only two cities in the world located within a UNESCO declared World Heritage Area, the Council recognises its stewardship responsibility in managing the City of Blue Mountains sustainably within a landscape of global biodiversity and ecosystem significance.
With this in mind, and with a philosophy of “think globally, act locally”, the Council has established the Blue Mountains Planetary Health Advisory Committee to advise and guide the Council on the establishment and implementation of the Planetary Health Initiative (PHI) that will include a Planetary Health centre and local action program with the aim of providing local, regional, national and international benefits.
Council has selected the Blue Mountains Planetary Health Advisory Committee after a successful Expression of Interest process.
“We were delighted with the outstanding calibre and expertise of the 24 applicants for this important Advisory Committee,” Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said. “While this made selecting members incredibly challenging, I’m certain these successful individuals, with their impressive skills and backgrounds, will contribute great things to our Planetary Health Initiative.”
Blue Mountains City Council CEO Dr Rosemary Dillon said: “We also have two Indigenous representatives and three Council representatives on the Advisory Committee and welcome the appointment of Joan Domicelj, A.M, to the position of Patron. Joan’s Domicelj’s expertise and standing in the community, particularly her role in the successful nomination of the Greater Blue Mountains as a UNESCO declared World Heritage Area, makes her the ideal choice for this role.”
Blue Mountains Planetary Health Advisory Committee Chair, Councillor Mick Fell, said: “This concept has been a passion of mine and I am so pleased it is happening. I want to mention the wonderful role played by our CEO, Dr Rosemary Dillon, and Council’s entire Executive Leadership Team in bringing this to a point of fruition.”
The members of the Advisory Committee are:
Joan Domicelj, A.M – the principal consultant and editor for the successful nomination of the Greater Blue Mountains Area for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Originally trained as an architect planner, her career developed into that of a practitioner and mediator in the fields of heritage assessment, cultural landscapes and environmental conservation, with work at both national and international levels.
Professor Anthony Capon – the world’s first Professor of Planetary Health and currently Director of Monash Sustainable Development Institute. A former Medical Officer of Health for the Blue Mountains, Tony is a member of the Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on Planetary Health and a co-author of its seminal report “Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch.”
Dr Rosalie Chapple – is co-founder of Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute, a not-for-profit organisation focused on supporting conservation of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. She is an ecologist who focuses on trans-disciplinary work and a developer of training programs for people working in protected areas, such as leadership skills and cross-cultural knowledge sharing, and is Lecturer in the Master of Environmental Management Program, University of NSW.
Associate Professor Louise Crabtree-Hayes – an expert in human geography, affordable housing, urban community food gardens, regeneration, resilience and planetary health. She alternates with Prof Juan Francisco Salazar, enabling the Centre to benefit from their complementary expertise.
David Crust – has over 25 years in management roles within the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). He manages over 200 staff responsible for the management of the reserves that make up the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.
William Dixon – an expert in natural resource management, conservation and zoology and has a long association with the Blue Mountains region as a resident, environmental campaigner and environmental manager. He has worked extensively with NPWS, Council, local Aboriginal groups and community networks, including Bushcare.
Allen Hyde – initiated the Rainforest Conservancy after the devastating 2019/2020 bushfires. Its long-term vision is to restore the natural environment for future generations. He has engaged the community, including schools and youth groups such as Scouts, on the restoration and establishment of new rainforest areas in the Blue Mountains. He has also worked with indigenous communities and scientists to conduct flora and fauna surveys and deliver educational programs to indigenous youth.
Serena Joyner – an expert in community engagement, community co-design and shared decision making, as well as an advocate on the health impacts of climate change and community building for local action on sustainability and resilience. She is co-founder (and Group Coordinator) of Resilient Blue Mountains, and she developed the Health Consumers NSW / WentWest Consumer and Community Engagement Model now used nationally.
Dr Michelle Maloney – an environmental lawyer, sustainability expert and advocate for Earth-centred governance, with over 30 years’ experience in creating and managing sustainability, climate change and environmental governance programs. She is co-founder of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA), Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Griffith Law Futures Centre, Co-Founder of the New Economy Network Australia (NENA) and Director of Future Dreaming Australia (an indigenous and non-indigenous partnership organisation).
Rosemary Morrow OAM – a recognised global leader in the Permaculture movement and an expert in community education, agricultural science and rural sociology. She has more than 30 years’ experience delivering global development programs, permaculture training programs and refugee support programs.
Genevieve Zoe Murray – a Built Environment practitioner with expertise on planetary health, as well as urban, indigenous planning methodologies and community housing advocacy. She is a lecturer and researcher investigating First Nations Planning Methodologies, particularly how design of homes, workplaces, and urban environments can work to Care for Country.
Dr Leo Robba – a visual communications expert in Social Design practice and human-centred design in raising awareness of planetary health. As a well-known practising artist and designer, his projects bring art and science together to engage communities with environmental issues and cultural change. In 2020 he was awarded the Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in teaching.
Professor Juan Francisco Salazar – a Professor at Western Sydney University and co-chair of Future Earth Australia, is a world leading researcher in environmental humanities, science and technology studies, as well as an expert in dynamics of social-ecological change, and sustainability and resilience strategies.
Traditional Owner representatives
David King, aka Dingo Darbo – is a Gundungurra Man and member of the Gundungurra Aboriginal Heritage Association Incorporated (GAHAI) and a Gully Traditional Owner (GTO). David is a passionate advocate for Indigenous Culture and land management and holds a Graduate Diploma in Natural Cultural Resource Management from Deakin University and a Cert 4 Indigenous Leadership from Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre (AILC). A well-known Blue Mountains Bushcarer, Landcarer and Swampcarer, David has been awarded titles for BMCC NAIDOC Recognition Award, Hard Yakka, Bushcare Legend and winner of the Blue Mountains Stories: A Year Like No Other with Gunai Dhaura Mulanga about Bushfires in the Blue Mountains. Most recently, Garguree Swampcare has been awarded Regional and NSW Landcare Indigenous Land Management Awards for restoration and reconnection. David is known for his Education and Group Facilitator work with Universities, TAFE, schools, corporate and community groups. He continues to remain strongly focused on Country, Culture and Community.
Venessa Possum – Venessa Possum is a Dharug Dharawal custodian acknowledging connections to Gungungurra Peoples. She lives at Burraburra in the Blue Mountains and is the CEO at Blue Mountains Culture and Resource Centre. She also leads an active life as an artist, collaborator, producer, educator, archivist and cultural consultant. She holds a 1st class Honours in Fine Art and Contemporary Indigenous Art and is a candidate in a Doctor of Philosophy in Griffith University. Her located research reveals a diverse oeuvre of visual languages – experienced as dynamic, material installations combining language, painting, drawing, collage, rubbings, printing and documentary photography and video. She is deeply engaged in producing an archive of Aboriginal presences coexisting with the colonial trove.
Blue Mountains City Council Committee members
Councillor Mick Fell (Chair) – Following a thirty-year career in community development with several NSW councils, Councillor Mick Fell was elected to the Council in 2012. Since then, he has served as a director of the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) and on the board of the Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise (BMEE). Mick holds post-graduate qualifications in local government management, and is a current board member of DARE, the Springwood-based disability service. He is also on the advisory committees of both the Blue Mountains City Art Gallery and Braemar Gallery. Following the 2013 bushfires, Mick chaired the Community Recovery Reference Group and represented the Mayor on the Bush Fire Mayoral Relief Fund Committee. Since moving to Springwood more than 20 years ago, Mick has developed a deep commitment to retaining the unique character of the Blue Mountains and meeting its unique challenges.
Dr Rosemary Dillon - is the CEO of BMCC. With 30 years of experience in local government, she is passionately committed to the role local government can play in taking local action to support planetary health and achieve a more sustainable Blue Mountains – environmentally, socially and economically. With a Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning and a Doctorate in Human Geography, Rosemary project managed the award winning Blue Mountains Our Future – The Next 25 Years – A Map for Action and “Sustainable Blue Mountains 2025”, guiding the strategic action focus for the City of Blue Mountains over the last two decades. More recently she has led the Council and the City through recovery from multiple disasters and driven a collaborative “Strategy-Led, Service Focused’ organisation.
Will Langevad – has committed his career to the environment and planning of the City of Blue Mountains, having led strategic and statutory planning for over 20 years. He holds a Bachelor of Built Environment (Urban and Regional Planning), a Graduate Diploma of Planning with Distinction, a Master of Planning and a Graduate Certificate in Corporate Management. Will played a key role in the development of the nationally awarded Local Environment Plan (LEP) 2005 and led the development of LEP 2015, which achieved unprecedented recognition of the values of the Blue Mountains. In 2019 he was appointed as Director, Environment & Planning Services, managing the Services of Natural Environment, Water Resource Management, Environmental Health and Compliance, Development and Building, Natural Area Visitor Facilities, City Wide Strategic Planning and Emergency Management.
Council has signed Memorandums of Understanding with Monash University Sustainable Development Institute and Western Sydney University, as well as more recently with University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures and the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute, to progress its Planetary Health Initiative.