John Thwaites


John Thwaites is a Professorial Fellow, Monash University, and Chair of ClimateWorks Australia and the Monash Sustainability Institute.

John is the Chair of Melbourne Water, which is also responsible for Melbourne’s water supply and for the rivers and catchment around Melbourne. John chairs the Australian Building Codes Board, the body responsible for developing and managing Australia’s building regulations. He also chairs the Peter Cullen Water and Environment Trust and is a director of the Australian Green Building Council.

John is a Co-Chair of the Leadership Council of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (“SDSN”) launched by the Secretary General of the UN to provide expert advice and support to the development and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2013, John was named as one of the 100 Global Sustainability Leaders by ABC Carbon Express.

From 2012-2013, John was Chair of the National Sustainability Council, an independent Council appointed by the Australian Government, which produced the Sustainable Australia Report in 2013. John has provided extensive advice to the Australian, state and local governments on environmental and water issues and been appointed to many government advisory bodies.

In 2008-2010, John was a special adviser to the Timor-Leste Minister for Infrastructure and helped develop an Infrastructure Plan for Timor-Leste and has been involved in a project to develop sewerage and drainage for the capital Dili.

John Thwaites was Deputy Premier of Victoria from 1999 until his retirement in 2007. During this period he was Minister for Health, Minister for Planning, Minister for Environment, Minister for Water, Minister for Victorian Communities and Victoria’s first Minister for Climate Change. In these portfolios he was responsible for major reforms in social policy, health, environment and water. As Minister for Water John initiated key reforms including an environmental right to water, an environmental contribution on water bills to fund environmental works and environmental flows, a water conservation campaign that led to water savings of over 40 per cent per head over a decade and major new infrastructure including the desalination plant and Victoria’s water grid.

Prior to being elected to Parliament, he was a barrister and Mayor of South Melbourne.

He has degrees in Law (Honours) and Science from Monash University.