Sustainability and Responsible Citizenship experts

Murdoch University’s sustainability experts are active in research projects and community work on critical issues such as sustainable resource use, population growth, poverty alleviation, technology development, ecological awareness, environmental protection, economic growth, inequality and trade.

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Rochelle Spencer

Dr Rochelle Spencer

International development, tourism

Dr Rochelle Spencer researches international development and tourism.

She critically questions concepts of civil society, participation, active citizenship, and capacity building. This contributes to our knowledge on assumptions about community, development, rights, and moral responsibility by exploring their importance for social change in an era of globalisation.

Dr Spencer is a lecturer in international aid and sustainable development in the School of Business and Governance and the Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs. She is a founding member of the Centre for Responsible Citizenship and Sustainability.

Martin Breuckner

Dr Martin Brueckner

Sustainable development , WA mining boom, Indigenous social enterprise

Martin Brueckner is a social ecologist with an interest in the politics of sustainable development, sustainable communities as well as the sustainability of development using a social and environmental justice lens. His work addresses questions surrounding industry-community relations, corporate social responsibility and environmental policy-making.

At present, Dr Brueckner's research focuses on Western Australia's mining boom, resource development based industry-community conflicts and Indigenous social enterprise as an alternative pathway to economic mainstreaming.

Dr Brueckner is a researcher with, and board member of, the Centre for Responsible Citizenship and Sustainability.
Diane Lee

Dr Diane Lee

Sustainable development of tourism, wildlife tourism

Dr Diane Lee is a specialist in the sustainable development of tourism in Australia and developing nations.

Currently she is focussing on how appropriate current approaches to tourism policy and education are for developing nations such as Cambodia and Indonesia.

Previously Dr Lee has worked extensively in wildlife tourism, evaluating human/wildlife interactions with dolphins (Bunbury DDC and Monkey Mia) and turtles (Ningaloo) and the conservation nexus between, wildlife, natural areas and community partnerships. In 2011 Diane was awarded a Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife award.

Dr Lee has also investigated tourism infrastructure development opportunities in China and India and conducted an examination of users of WA ‘Top Trails’ throughout the wider WA region.
Richard Harper

Professor Richard Harper

Sustainable water use, salinity

Professor Richard Harper is the Alcoa Chair in Sustainable Water Management at Murdoch University. His current focus is on developing land-use systems that ensure water sustainability in the Peel, a rapidly growing region in Western Australia.

His research interests revolve around improving water yields and protecting water quality through improved land management, and developing policies and land-use systems that will achieve change over large areas.

He has worked on using reforestation and carbon mitigation to overcome salinity, a major issue in inland Australia, and was recently selected as a lead author in the next IPCC Assessment Report.

John Howieson

Professor John Howieson

Sustainable agriculture, nitrogen fixation in legumes

Professor John Howieson is an internationally recognised expert in sustainable agriculture, specialising in the nitrogen fixation of legume crops.
His research interests include the selection and development of root nodule bacteria as commercial inoculants for agricultural legumes, and the selection of annual and perennial legumes for sustainable agriculture.

Professor Howieson was the Foundation Director of the Centre for Rhizobium Studies at Murdoch University and he has led the discovery program for several new pasture and forage legumes in Australian agriculture.

Currently he is on the steering committee for the project “N2Africa: Putting nitrogen fixation to work for smallholder farmers in Africa”. This US$20 million program is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Brad Pettitt

Associate Professor Brad Pettitt

Sustainable development and planning; international aid

Dr Brad Pettitt is a Senior Lecturer in sustainable development.

He specialises in sustainable development, international aid and development, climate change policy, sustainable transport and local sustainability planning.

Dr Pettitt is also the Mayor of the City of Fremantle.

John Davis

John Davis

Sustainable rural development and natural resource management

He is currently researching community-based coastal management in Australia, land use innovations in traditional communal lands, and effective ways to help smallholder farmers in southern Africa develop their capacity to engage with markets.

John Davis is a Lecturer in Sustainability and a member of the Centre for Responsible Citizenship and Sustainability at Murdoch University. He has over 30 years experience as a “pracademic” in international development in Asia and Africa. John is an expert in participatory development, natural resources management, and international aid.

In addition to his teaching and research at Murdoch University, Mr Davis provides consulting services in southern Africa and Asia.

Nicole Hodgson

Nicole Hodgson

Sustainability policy and planning; sustainability assessment

Nicole Hodgson is an experienced practitioner in the field of sustainability policy and planning, working with local government, state government and non-government sectors on various projects.

Ms Hodgson is currently researching the social and behavioural dimensions of making lifestyle changes for sustainability, and the social dimension of sustainability.

She is also examining how communities work with decision-makers to achieve sustainability outcomes, and the use of policy instruments such as sustainability assessment and sustainability indicators in decision-making.

Sally Paulin

Sally Paulin

Natural resource management; rural and urban community participation

Sally Paulin investigates how community involvement in natural resource management is affected by government funding mechanisms.

The lecturer for Murdoch’s Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy specialises in social sustainability including community engagement and participation, sustainable waste management and resource recovery, sustainable agriculture and the philosophy of “self and sustainability”.

Ms Paulin is the Deputy Chairperson of the Waste Management Community Reference Group for the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council, and a member of the Australian Facilitators Network of Western Australia.

To reach these experts for media enquiries, contact:

Joanne Manning
Media & Communications Advisor
Phone: 08 9360 2474
Mobile: 0408 201 309
Pepita Smith
Media & Communications Advisor
Phone: 08 9360 1289
Mobile: 0417 171 551

For all other enquiries, please ring reception on 08 9360 6000.