Two of Australia’s most distinguished environmental scientists together with an international authority on Indigenous cultural and intellectual property have been appointed as co‑chief authors of the 2021 National State of the Environment Report (SoE).

Dean of UNSW Science Professor Emma Johnston, Dr Ian Cresswell and Dr Terri Janke, a UNSW Law alumna, will lead an expert team conducting a five‑yearly independent review on the state of the Australian environment.

“The extreme events of recent years have demonstrated that our jobs and our well-being depend on healthy rivers, forests, soils, and seas. There has never been a more critical time for all Australians to understand the state and projected future of our environment," Prof. Johnston said.

This is the first time the report will have co-chief authors and in what is another first for the reporting process, an indigenous co-chief author has been appointed to strengthen the link between traditional ad western science.  

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the report will be prepared during a critical time for the country, as communities continue to focus on bushfire recovery, climate adaptation, native species, the natural environment and heritage.

“The role of the co-chiefs will be to lead a team of thematic authors, which includes a number of Indigenous authors, across several of the report’s themes ensuring coherency and consistency across all themes within the report,” Minster Ley said.

The Chief Authors

With more than 160 peer-reviewed scientific studies published, Professor Johnston is the Dean of Science and the former Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at UNSW. She is a leading authority in marine ecology and biomonitoring and brings the additional experience of having authored previous SoE reports.

Dr Cresswell is the chair of the Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute and has led several major environmental research programs in Australia developing fundamental tools for ecosystem management.

Dr Janke is a Wuthathi/Meriam woman and an international authority on Indigenous cultural and intellectual property known for innovating pathways between Indigenous people in business and the non‑Indigenous business sector.

The SoE is scheduled for release in December 2021.