Professor John Thwaites AM


John Thwaites is a Professorial Fellow, Monash University, and Chair of both Monash Sustainable Development Institute and Climateworks Centre.

John is also Chair of Melbourne Water, Chair of the Biodiversity Council and a Director of Fair Trade Australia & New Zealand. In February 2023, John was appointed as inaugural Chair of the Circular Economy Taskforce by Environment and Water Minister, the Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP.

John is a Co-Chair of the Leadership Council of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) launched by the Secretary General of the United Nations to provide expert advice and support to the development and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. He is also the Chair of the SDSN Association, which operates the SDSN network around the world.

In 2020 John was the only Australian appointed to The Lancet Covid-19 Commission. In January 2021, John was made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) “for significant service to the environment, and to the people and Parliament of Victoria”.

In 2013, John was named as one of the 100 Global Sustainability Leaders by ABC Carbon Express. In 2015, he was awarded the “Planning Champion” award by the Planning Institute of Australia and in 2016 was awarded the Richard J Evans Award for excellence in recognition of outstanding contributions to planning in Victoria.

Previously, John has been Chair of the Australian Building Codes Board, President of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and a Director of the Australian Green Building Council. He has also been appointed to a number of government reviews and committees including the Victorian Government’s Independent Review of the Retail Energy Market and Co-Chair of the Victorian Cladding Taskforce.

John was Deputy Premier of Victoria from 1999 until his retirement in 2007. During this period he held various Ministerial portfolios including Health, Planning, Environment, Water and was Victoria’s first Minister for Climate Change. In these portfolios he was responsible for major reforms in social policy, health, environment and water. Prior to being elected to Parliament, he was a barrister and Mayor of South Melbourne.

John has degrees in Law (Honours) and Science from Monash University. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.