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Taking Charge of Change

Date Added: 17/12/2015 Last Updated: 17/12/2015
The information in this article could be out-of-date or no longer relevant.

The GBCA’s popular Member Evenings returned this spring, with a brand new panel discussion format introduced.

Members heard from a range of expert speakers as they shared their thoughts around the topic of ‘Taking Charge of Change.’ Conversations were dynamic, interesting and showed that taking charge of change is a complex issue, with a variety of ways in which we can overcome challenges to spearhead innovation, collaboration and a better society to live in. We thank our panellists for their contributions and look forward to further discussions in the New Year.


  • John Thwaites, Board Director, Green Building Council of Australia
  • Cr Amanda Stevens, Mayor, City of Port Phillip
  • Renuka Sabaratnam, Group Manager Business Sustainability, John Holland Group

In Melbourne, a lively discussion took place at Norman Disney & Young’s offices on 4 November. The key themes covered included: ‘collaboration, innovation and having a strong vision for the future’. Panellist John Thwaites was sceptical of the word ‘change.’ He believes we all have ‘vested interests’ and what we really need is ‘better cultural awareness.’ Mr Thwaites engaged the audience by asking the question: ‘How will our cultural thinking need to change to incentivise collaboration and changes?’ Fellow panellist Amanda Stephens said ‘change is political.’ She encouraged everyone to be proactive, present and in touch with their own members and electorate. “Change happens through change agents– give people knowledge to empower them to make things happen,” she concluded.


  • Dr Brad Pettit, Mayor, City of Fremantle
  • Neil Merritt, Senior Services Manager, Brookfield Multiplex Australia
  • Andy Sharp, Director of Properties and Development, Curtin University

At our 28 October Member Evening in the West, kindly hosted by Wood & Grieve Engineers, Brad Pettitt opened the discussion. “We should be excited about making change that reflects 21st century thinking. It’s not only exciting but plausible,” he said. The conversation then moved into the education space with Andy Sharp explaining that universities need support of government to support the value of green buildings. “We are going to become towns and villages in our own right,” he said. “What’s stopping us from larger planning? Taking an integrated approach? Everyone would win,” he said. The conversation went on to focus on big ideas that would change the attitudes and habits of individuals. Examples of the city toll in London and car sharing in Singapore were bought up.


  • Catherine Bremner, Head of Environmental Sustainability, ANZ
  • Beck Dawson, Chief Resilience officer, City of Sydney
  • Nathan Robertson-Ball, Manager Human Rights & Social Impact Services, KPMG Banarra

Sydney members had their turn to comment when we visited the Schiavello Showroom in Surry Hills, Sydney for a Member Evening on 24 November. As things got underway, the conversation quickly turned to finance. “Commercial building space has enormously changed,” observed panellist Catherine Bremner. “The green bond market is $85 billion dollars this year alone.” Catherine went on to state that another huge change is the focus on resiliency in cities and buildings. Finally, the discussion turned to social sustainability, with Nathan Robertson-Ball questioning: “what does social sustainability mean to us?”

Attend the next member evenings in 2016 and be a part of the conversation.