Meet your Council

Professor Barbara Norman

Professor  Barbara Norman, Council Chair

Professor Norman is the Foundation Chair of Urban and Regional Planning in the Faculty of Business, Government and Law at the University of Canberra. Professor Norman is Director of Canberra Urban and Regional Futures and an Adjunct Professor with the Australian National University. Professor Norman is a Life Fellow and past National President of the Planning Institute of Australia and a Life Honorary Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute (United Kingdom).

Professor Norman advises public and private sectors in Australia and has strong international linkages within Asia, Europe and the United States. She was a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  Fifth Assessment Report Working Group 2 “Impacts”, 2014. Professor Norman was awarded an Australian Centenary Medal for her contribution to the community through urban and regional planning.


Professor Penny Sackett

Professor Penny Sackett, (Council Deputy Chair)

Professor Sackett is a physicist, astronomer, former Chief Scientist for Australia, an Adjunct Professor with the Australian National University (ANU) Climate Change Institute and a private strategic advisor. Professor Sackett has served on Australian, Dutch, European, and United States science and advisory panels. As Director of the Mount Stromlo Observatory when it was destroyed in the 2003 bush fires, Professor Sackett led the effort to rebuild and re-establish the international centre for research, training, and high-tech instrumentation.

As Chief Scientist for Australia (2008–2011), Professor Sackett provided independent advice to the Australian Government on matters of science and innovation, and was a vocal champion of evidenced-based decision making. She spearheaded the effort to introduce long-term, cross-portfolio and cross-disciplinary foresight into the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, and opened new channels of communication to the Australian public on matters of science, particularly those relating to sustainability such as climate change and food security.


Professor Will Steffen

Professor  Will Steffen, Councillor on the publicly-funded Climate Council of Australia

The publically-funded Climate Council of Australia delivers independent expert information about climate change. Professor Steffen is a climate change researcher at the Australian National University in Canberra. He is the sustainability theme leader of Canberra Urban and Regional Futures . He previously served as the Science Adviser to the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. Professor Steffen has served as Executive Director of the International Geosphere- Biosphere Programme, an international network of scientists studying global environmental change based in Stockholm, Sweden and is currently a guest researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

His research interests span a broad range within the fields of climate and Earth System science, with an emphasis on incorporation of human processes in Earth System modelling and analysis, and on sustainability and climate change, with an emphasis on urban areas. Professor Steffen was a contributing author to the IPCC AR4 WGI report.


Dr Frank JotzoDr Frank  Jotzo, Associate Professor, Australian National University (ANU), Director of the Centre for Climate Economics and Policy at Crawford School of Public Policy

Dr Jotzo has research expertise in the economics and policy of climate change (including mechanisms and policy design for greenhouse gas control), policy frameworks for adaptation to climate change and international climate policy, as well as energy policy and land-use change policy. Dr Jotzo has published widely, has advised governments and consulted for international organisations. He was an advisor to the Garnaut Climate Change Review, advisor to Indonesia’s Ministry of Finance, consultant to international organisations and was a Lead Author of Chapter 3 and the Technical Summary of the AR5 by the IPCC.

He is an ANU Public Policy Fellow and a frequent contributor to the public and policy debate on climate change in Australia and internationally.


Headshot of Ben PontonMr Ben Ponton, Director-General, Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate, ACT Government.

Ben was appointed to the role of Director-General of the ACT’s Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate in April 2017. Ben is a registered town planner with over 25 years experience in both the private and government sectors and is passionate about achieving high quality outcomes through meaningful and effective engagement.

Ben has experience within the private sector where he worked as a town planning consultant before beginning his government career with various New South Wales local government authorities. For the last 14 years, Ben has worked for the ACT Government in areas such as strategic planning, environmental policy, land and planning regulation, transport, city services and urban renewal.  Ben focuses on citizen-oriented Government and believes in engaging with citizens early to build a sustainable and prosperous community for all.


Mr Toby Roxburgh

Mr Toby Roxburgh, Chair, Australian Institute of Energy (Canberra Branch) and a Founding Director at Beast Solutions

His work in the energy sector includes fields such as education, policy, planning, sustainable design, energy efficiency, district energy, renewables, microgrids and peak demand reduction. Mr Roxburgh has been involved in demand management projects for ActewAGL, district energy delivery for the City of Sydney, remote solar PV systems for Indigenous communities through Indigenous Affairs, infrastructure savings for the ACT Government, renewable energy microgrids for campuses and developments, net zero carbon emissions solutions, and helping independent energy utilities operate off the electricity grid.


Ms Karen JessonMs Karen Jesson, Community Development Officer, Communities@Work

In her current role Karen is working closely with the Land Development Agency to deliver the Mingle Community Development program in the new and emerging communities of Wright and Coombs.

Karen has worked in the area of Community Development for the past 9 years, working with a variety of groups in the ACT. She has qualifications in Community Development and Management, as well as Permaculture Design and Home Sustainability Assessment.

She has assisted in the development and delivery of some key projects within the ACT, such as the Tuggeranong 55 Plus Club, Outreach Water & Energy program, Tuggeranong Men’s Shed, and 50+ Network (research project). Karen also established the Sustainability Network, which saw members from a variety of local agencies come together to connect, share and learn. Two key outcomes that were achieved through this initiative include the development of  Canberra loves 40% and  Canberra City Farm.

Karen has been a member and sat on the committee of the Canberra Environment Centre. She was also a member of the Tuggeranong Community Council and is a key member of Canberra Transition Town. She is passionate about the environment, Asset Based Community Development, Placemaking, and Transition Towns.