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STC Announces THE WENTWORTH TALKS: Accounting for Nature Panel Aug 29

In partnership with the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, Sydney Theatre Company presents The Wentworth Talks, a series of free bi-monthly presentations and panel discussions at The Wharf led by guest speakers addressing a wide range of topics relating to climate change and the environment.

We encourage you to get in early and book your seats by calling the STC Box Office on (02) 9250 1777 or visiting Please note: Tickets are limited to 2 per customer.

Professor Bruce Thom, Jane McDonald & Dr Neil Byron

Public policy decisions on population, water reform, climate change and food security are taking place in a vacuum because we have no accounting system in place that measures the impact these pressures are having on the health of our environment.

Economic accounts present a statistical picture of the structure of the economy and the detailed processes that make up its production and distribution. This information is used by Treasury, the Reserve Bank, government agencies, financial markets, businesses and individuals, to guide policy and inform investment decisions.

It took nearly a century of the industrial revolution to pass before we recognised the value of systematically collecting and reporting economic statistics and developed the capacity to do so. When we did, we fundamentally changed the way we manage our economy.

If we are to achieve our goal of healthy and productive landscapes, Australia needs to apply this same discipline to manage our natural capital. If you don't measure it, you can't manage it.

Conflicts over water, clearing of native vegetation, mining and urban settlement tend to be resolved without reference to science.

Australia desperately needs a system to measure the condition of its natural resources. The Wentworth Group is driving both domestic and international initiatives that will underpin improved decision making and investment for the environment.

Bruce Thom, Jane McDonald and Neil Byron will discuss the merits of the Wentworth Group approach to environmental accounts.


Bruce Thom
Formerly Vice-Chancellor University of New England (1994-1996), Professor Thom has held positions such as Foundation Professor of Geography, Royal Military College, Duntroon (University of New South Wales, 1977-1984); Professor of Geography University of Sydney (1985-1993); and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research, University of Sydney (1990-1993).

He holds the title of Emeritus Professor from University of Sydney. Professor Thom served as Chair of the Australian State of Environment Committee 1998-2002, and as Chair of the Coastal Council of New South Wales (1999-2004). He was Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Built Environment at the University of NSW.

Professor Thom is a member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, President of the Australian Coastal Society and Deputy Chair of the Federal Government's Coasts and Climate Change Council.

In 2010, Professor Bruce Thom was awarded a member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to the ecological management of the coastal zone and as a contributor to public debate on natural resource policy.

Jane McDonald
Jane has worked on environmental accounts with the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientist as research and policy analyst since 2008. Jane recently co-authored a paper "A common currency for building environmental accounts" which she presented to an Expert Meeting on Ecosystem Accounts in Copenhagen as part of the development of the international standards on environmental accounting in May 2011.

This year Jane is working on the technical, scientific and policy aspects of the trial of Regional Environmental Accounts and has started a doctorate at the University of Queensland.

Neil Byron
Neil is an environmental economist whose passion is to achieve much better environmental outcomes "on the ground" (as well as in the air and water).

Neil's introduction to live theatre was in trying to stimulate students when he taught environmental economics at Australian National University (1980-1993). Since then he's led an international environmental research institute based in Indonesia (1993-98) and been the ‘Environment' Commissioner in the federal Productivity Commission (1998-2010).

Apart from being a member of Wentworth Group and a Director of Earth Watch Australia, Neil's currently leading an independent national review of Adaptation to Climate Change (whenever he's not bushwalking).

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