Current forum


CES theme for 2011 is "Good Stewardship, Protecting Our Future". 


 "Water community and food"

When:       7:30pm Thursday, 8 September 2011

Where:     Australian Centre for Culture and Christianity, Corner Blackall St and Kings Av, Barton

Speaker:  Dr John Williams of the Wentworth Group, former chair CSIRO Land & Water

Chair:       to be advised


Dr John Williams BSc Agr (Hons1) PhD MAIAST


John is a founding member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists. He is one of Australia’s most respected scientists, and has led the national debate about sustainable land management. John has extensive experience in providing national and international thought leadership in natural-resource management, particularly in agricultural production and its environmental impact. Prior to joining the NSW Natural Resources Commission (NRC) in 2006, he was Chief Scientist and Chair of the Department of Natural Resources Science and Information Board. He retired from CSIRO as Chief of Land and Water in 2004. In 2005, he was awarded the prestigious Farrer Memorial Medal for achievement and excellence in agricultural science. In addition to his part-time role as Commissioner of the NRC, John is an Adjunct Professor in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management at Charles Sturt University. He is also Director of John Williams Scientific Services Pty Ltd, which provides strategic advice and analysis in Agriculture and the Natural Resource Sciences.


(More information)



As world population continues to expand, projected demand for food will require agricultural and fisheries production to double over the next fifty years. This means harvesting food each year for an additional 70 million people, which is equivalent to the total food production of Australia.

Whilst it is a huge call for food production to be increased substantially, the more demanding challenge is to make these huge increases while decreasing detrimental impacts on natural resources and the environment.


This is a time of rising costs for energy and diminishing supplies of essential nutrients such as phosphorus within a spectre of climate change.

To avoid a global food crisis without further damage to the environment, we need:

  • Substantial reform to the operation of agricultural and natural resources sciences;  

  • Major injection of both national and international investment into agriculture and fisheries food production distribution and marketing;

  • Reform of markets and regulations to ensure cost of food includes the costs to natural resources and environment;

  • Orientate to a more market-based system of production, distribution and consumption of food;

This urgent need to give priority attention to food production, whilst maintaining the quality of the resource base from which it is produced, is perhaps one of the greatest scientific challenges ahead and certainly one that has apparently slipped from our gaze.


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Contact: Heather McLaren email