ISOS rolling internet conference: in search of sustainability: water (FEB)

1 February 2003

Media Releases 2003

Jointly organised and managed by:

Australia 21 Limited

Nature and Society Forum

Sustainable Population Australia

Water The Focus As Internet Conference Opens

As Australia staggers through its worst drought and fires in a lifetime, an innovative rolling internet conference opened today with nine new papers focussing on Water and Sustainability. These complement the keynote paper by Professor Peter Cullen of the Wentworth Group that was posted on the conference web-site earlier (

The conference, which is open to all Australians, is called In Search of Sustainability (ISOS) and will address nine important themes over the next nine months. Following February’s focus on Water, Human Health and Well-Being will be addressed in March, then Land Use and Natural Ecosystems in April.

A number of leading Australian thinkers and researchers have contributed papers this month including Dr Graham Harris of CSIRO, Professor Don Aitken of the University of Canberra and Paul Perkins of ACTEW Corporation. All contributors say we are not on a sustainable trajectory and must, as Professor Cullen recommended, develop a coherent and multi-pronged national Water Policy.

One organiser of the conference, Emeritus Professor Bob Douglas, says that it is clear that water policy is integrally linked to policies of agriculture and land use.

“Substantial shifts will be needed in our agricultural profile and in the way we foster our rural sector.”

Prof Douglas reports that most of the nine papers on water say the way to a sustainable future will be neither easy nor cheap.

“Different levels and departments of government must work harmoniously together and many precious assumptions and entitlements will be challenged as we work towards a water policy,” says Douglas. “If we fail, however, to move in this direction the alternative future looks bleak.”

This forum is now open for discussion and debate. Registrants are free to submit their comments on the web-site. Journalists may access the papers free of charge by phoning Ron D’Souza 02 6288 0823 or by email:

Further information:

Bob Douglas: 0409 233 138

Jenny Goldie: 0401 921 453


Scroll to Top