Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists

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Tim Flannery
John Williams

The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists (in short, the Wentworth Group) is an independent group comprising Australian scientists, economists and business people with conservation interests.

The name of the group comes from the venue of their principal meetings prior to release of their first blueprint; Blueprint for a Living Continent.


The Wentworth Group has three core objectives:

  • Driving innovation in the management of Australia’s biodiversity, land and water resources;
  • Engage business, community and political leaders in a dialogue to find and implement solutions to the challenge of environmental stewardship facing the future of Australian society;
  • Building capacity by mentoring and supporting young scientists, lawyers and economists to develop their skills and understanding of public policy.

The Wentworth Group first came together in November 2002. Their first statement, Blueprint for a Living Continent, set out what it believed were the key changes that needed to be made to deliver a sustainable future for our continent and its people. They emphasised the need to:

  • Clarify water property rights and the obligations associated with those rights to give farmers some certainty and to enable water to be recovered for the environment.
  • Restore environmental flows to stressed rivers, such as the River Murray and its tributaries.
  • Immediately end broadscale landclearing of remnant native vegetation and assist rural communities with adjustment. This provides fundamental benefits to water quality, prevention of salinity, prevention of soil loss and conservation of biodiversity.
  • Pay farmers for environmental services (clean water, fresh air, healthy soils). Where we expect farmers to maintain land in a certain way that is above their duty of care, we should pay them to provide those services on behalf of the rest of Australia.
  • Incorporate into the cost of food, fibre and water the hidden subsidies currently borne by the environment, to assist farmers to farm sustainably and profitably in this country.


The Wentworth Group consists of:

  • Dr Neil Byron - Former Commissioner, Australian Productivity Commission.
  • Peter Cosier - Director and Member of the Wentworth Group.
  • Prof Richard Davis - Former Chief Science Advisor to the Australian National Water Commission; Research Scientist, CSIRO Australia
  • Prof Tim Flannery - 2011, Chief Climate Commissioner, Australian Climate Commission; Chair, Copenhagen Climate Council; 2007 Australian of the Year; Zoologist and author (The Future Eaters) (The Weather Makers)
  • Assoc Prof Ronnie Harding - Former Assistant Commissioner, NSW Natural Resources Commission; Former Director, Institute of Environmental Studies, University of New South Wales
  • Dr Terry Hillman - Adjunct Professor at La Trobe University, former Member Murray-Darling Basin Sustainable Rivers Audit.
  • Prof Lesley Hughes - Climate Commissioner, Australian Climate Commission; Professorial Fellow, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University
  • Prof David Karoly - Professor of Meteorology and Federation Fellow, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne; Lead Author and Review Editor, Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • Prof Hugh Possingham - Director, The Ecology Centre, University of Queensland; Director, Centre for Australian Environmental Decision Analysis
  • Rob Purves - President, WWF Australia; Chair, Purves Environmental Fund; Chair, Sustainable Business Australia Limited (SBA)
  • Dr Denis Saunders - Former President, WWF Australia (2006–2011); Former CSIRO Chief research scientist, Wildlife and Ecology
  • Prof Bruce Thom - Emeritus Professor, University of Sydney; Former Chair Australian State of the Environment Committee and the NSW Coastal Council
  • Dr John Williams - Former Commissioner, NSW Natural Resources Commission; Adjunct Professor in Public Policy and Environmental Management at the Crawford School of the Australian National University; Adjunct Professor, Agriculture and Natural Resource Management, Institute Water, Land and Society, Charles Sturt University

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