Eminent Border residents call for stronger action on climate change


What brings together an international sports star, an archdeacon, a wine guru and a financial CEO?  Basketballer Lauren Jackson, Archdeacon Peter McLeod-Miller, John Brown of Brown Brothers and WAW Credit Union’s Peter Challis, together with fifty other eminent people from the Border region have signed a joint statement calling for all levels of government to immediately take stronger action on human-induced climate change.

The statement has been endorsed by a diverse range of local leaders including those from business, academia, the arts, the land, local government and religious groups. (See climate statement and list of signatories.) It was initiated by non-partisan climate advocacy group Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health (WATCH), in an effort to demonstrate the breadth of support for climate action from many of the most respected members of the Border community.

“We’ve been heartened by the number and diversity of local leaders prepared to publicly state their call for action on climate change”, said WATCH spokesperson Lizette Salmon. “The fact they’re from so many walks of life goes to show that climate change is an issue that matters regardless of work, social group or politics.”

A lifetime of simple personal observations convinced John Brown, former CEO of Brown Brothers that the climate is warming. “I remember when Mt Buffalo was a reliable winter ski resort, local farm dams froze over and grapes were ripe for harvesting three weeks later. Of great concern to me is how humanity will cope when our fossil fuels are exhausted. Unless we move quickly to alternative, low emission energy production, future generations will not forgive us.”

Peter Challis, CEO of WAW Credit Union, is also a signatory to the climate statement. “Our Governments and communities need to better understand climate change. The ongoing debate over what is to blame for climate change just redirects focus and energy away from minimising the long term damage on society. We need to respond to the impact of climate change so that we have a sustainable future.”

“Climate change will have dramatic effects on our environment and economy if urgent action is not taken”, said Mrs Salmon. “In our region that includes more droughts and bushfires and all the detrimental flow-on effects these will have on our community.”

Member for Farrer, Sussan Ley, has committed to noting the document and its message in Federal Parliament, either during debate on climate change or when local issues are able to be highlighted.

WATCH is calling for additional community leaders to become signatories to the climate statement. They can sign on in the next week by sending their details to watch.albwod@gmail.com

SIGNATORIES (as at 15.11.13)


John Alker-Jones Former Principal Planner   Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation, former Chairman Parklands   Albury-Wodonga
Stuart Baker Director of Baker Motors and former   Mayor Albury City Council (2007-2008)
Kat Bennett Youth leader
Dr Dennis Black Lecturer, Environmental Management, La   Trobe University
John Brown AO Former CEO   and Chairman of Brown Brothers
Peter Challis CEO, WAW Credit Union
Don Chambers Indigo Shire Councillor, Chair Keep Australia Beautiful National Association
Julie de Hennin Sustainable agriculture farmer,   education and training contractor
Dr John Douglas Paediatrician
Dr Penelope Egan-Vine AM Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of   Surgery
Rob Fenton Head Teacher, National Environment   Centre
Rev Joan Fisher Wodonga
Dr Barney Foran Research Fellow, Charles Sturt   University (CSU)
Judy Frankenberg Cattle farmer, ecologist, Vice-Chair Murray-Darling Wetlands Working Group
Anthony Griffiths Former Mayor Rural City of Wangaratta   (2009-2011)
Dr Jonathon   Howard Head   of School of Humanities and Social Sciences, CSU
Vic Issell Former Mayor Indigo Shire
Gary Jackson Former national basketballer
Lauren Jackson Professional athlete
Maree Jackson Former national basketballer
Darryl Jacob OAM Chairman Wirraminna Environmental   Education Centre
Eric Kerr City of Wodonga Councillor
Gordon Kerry Composer
Bohdan Krowicky Musician
Dr Susan Lawler Head   of Department, Environmental Management and Ecology, La Trobe   University
Vicki Luke Artist, finalist The Blake Prize 2011
Prof Gary Luck Ecology and Interdisciplinary Science,   Institute for Land, Water and Society, CSU
Assoc Prof Ian Lunt Vegetation Ecology and Management,   Institute for Land, Water and Society, CSU
Adn Peter MacLeod-Miller Archdeacon   of The Hume and St Matthews Albury
Cathy McGowan AO Dip Ed, BA, MA App Science
Cameron McKern Captain Yackandandah Fire Brigade and   IT consultant
Dr Tracey Merriman Paediatric surgeon
Dr Joanne Millar Senior Lecturer in Environmental   Planning and Policy, CSU
Dr Alison Mitchell Sustainability consultant
Dr Rowan O’Hagan Rural economist
Prof David Mitchell Adjunct Professor, CSU
Neil Padbury 1st Lieutenant Yackandandah   Fire Brigade
Ali Pockley Former Mayor Indigo Shire
Alison Prenter Emergency Relief Manager, UnitingCare Wodonga
Dr John Rafferty Convenor Regional Centre of Expertise   In Education for Sustainable Development – Murray-Darling
Canon Glyn Rees Rector, St John’s Anglican Church,   Wodonga
Nancy Rooke OAM Wiradjuri elder
Andrew Saxby Business executive, member of the   Institute of Company Directors
Dr Rosie Saxton General practitioner
Paul Scannell Curator   Albury Botanic Gardens, Member Botanic   Gardens ANZ Council
James Sloan Solicitor
Natasa Sojic Youth leader
Pam Thibou-Martin Principal, Wodonga Primary School
Dr Guinever Threlkeld La Trobe University
David Thurley Albury City Councillor
Mark Verbaken Fellow Environmental Health   Professionals Australia
Assoc Prof David Watson Ecologist, School of Environmental   Sciences, CSU
Catherine Webb Youth ambassador
Fiona Wigg B. Agr.Sc., PhD candidate University   of Melbourne


Listed in alphabetical order of surname

Climate statement

To fellow residents of Albury-Wodonga and surrounds:

We – the signatories below who live or work in this community – agree with the 97% of published, peer-reviewed papers on climate change1 and reputable international organisations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, that:

  • The planet is warming at an alarming rate
  • Human generation of greenhouse gases is the primary cause of this warming
  • Harsh impacts and irreversible changes to the climate will occur if we fail to act
  • These climatic changes will dramatically affect our environment and our economy
  • The decade to 2020 is the critical time for action to reduce carbon emissions significantly

We call on Australian politicians, at all levels of government, to immediately take stronger action on climate change in line with the science.

As members of your community we ask that you press for immediate support for increased renewable energy and reduction in the burning of fossil fuels. Your choices now will affect life as we know it.  Failing to act is an act of failure.


1 Cook J, Nuccitelli D, Green SA, Richardson M, Winkler B, Painting R, Way R, Jacobs P & Skuce A. (2013) Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. Environmental Research Letters 8 024024

This statement is sponsored by WATCH (Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health) – a non-partisan, volunteer climate action group. To join us in working for action on climate change, visit http://www.watch.id.au

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