WCLP Field Trip to Melbourne Water's Western Treatment Plant

20 September 2011 By Stefan Grun

Melbourne Water
Melbourne Water

This month’s WCLP program featured a field trip to Melbourne Water’s Western Treatment Plant in Werribee. Featuring a tour of the water treatment plant the day’s activities focused on the theme of Natural Capital and allowed the group to go beyond the usual discussion of single issue environmental concerns. The expert presenters covered a range of topics, focusing on the following areas:

  1. How much value do we / I place on the environment?
  2. What is the long term value of what you leave behind?
  3. What is my personal responsibility to take action – ie as an individual and / or within my organization?
  4. Business imperative (or social licence) to act vs community expectations
  5. Heroic overconfidence” and leadership

The presenters were:

  • Professor Mark Burgman – Managing Director from the Australian Centre of Excellence for Risk Analysis and the Adrienne Clarke Chair of Botany at the University of Melbourne
  • John Thwaites – Chair of ClimateWorks Australia and the Monash Sustainability Institute as well as being the Deputy Premier for nine years
  • Cheryl Batagol – EPA Chairman and former Chair of Melbourne Water and former Deputy Chair of Sustainability Victoria
  • Rosemary Bissett – Head of Sustainability, Governance and Risk at NAB and Board member at Moreland Energy Foundation
  • Russell Fisher – President and Trustees at Environment Victoria
  • Stuart Anstee – Principal Adviser, Ecosystem Services at Rio Tinto

The presenters facilitated some vibrant and lively discussions. Whilst debate ranged over a number of issues a common theme emerged when discussion turned to how we value our natural capital – without a healthy and functioning environment, a healthy economy is irrelevant.

Each presenter also discussed the characteristics a great leader must exhibit with some consistent trends shining through: confidence in communicating your vision; emotional intelligence; the ability to listen; effective delegation to use the expertise in your team; courage and resilience; and influencing stakeholders at the top and bottom of an organisation to help sell your message for change.

At the end of the day’s stimulating discussions, the group headed back to Melbourne with a different perspective on our environment and the leadership challenges associated with valuing and protecting our natural capital.

2 - Stuart Anstee
3 - John Thwaites

Stuart Anstee


John Thwaites


4 - Cheryl Batagol 5 - Russell Fisher
Cheryl Batagol Russell Fisher