Western Sydney University to explore Planetary Health excellence in local area

Western Sydney University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC) and the Monash Sustainable Development Institute to explore the establishment of a Planetary Health Leadership Centre in Katoomba.

The Centre – to focus on the emerging science of Planetary Health, which links our activities with the health of people and the planet – is set to be based at the former Katoomba Golf Clubhouse recently purchased by BMCC.

Western Sydney University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President (Research, Enterprise and International) Professor Deborah Sweeney commended the signing, which will place Western at the forefront of this emerging interdisciplinary research field.

“This MOU underpins the University’s mission of striving for innovation and excellence in its pursuit of impactful research that solves some of our most pressing local, regional, national and international challenges,” said Professor Sweeney.

The Planetary Health Leadership Centre’s (PHLC) proposed aims include:

  • The research and promotion of sustainable living, environmental science and other initiatives relating to how human practices can better support a healthy planet for current and future generations;
  • research into climate change and bushfire management, and their impact on the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and its unique biodiversity;
  • a reinvigorated sustainability model for the region based on the principles of planetary health;
  • a substantive forum for BMCC, academics, local stakeholders, and global theorists and practitioners to be in meaningful dialogue about
  • the practicalities of enacting transitions to cultures of planetary health;
  • the undertaking of research and promoting the development of strategies to improve the environmental health of the planet and to respond to the challenges of climate change, natural disaster, bushfire, and other processes which threaten sustainable living;
  • emulating the persona of the Blue Mountains as a unique place that fosters a culture of diverse and high quality creative endeavour as a City of the Arts.

Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill said: “The signing of this MOU to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Blue Mountain’s World Heritage status announcement, is fitting. Planetary Health is a global imperative. It resonates with the people of the Blue Mountains, but it is a matter for all people globally.”

For further information about plans for the PHLC, please contact Professor Nicky Morrison nicky.morrison@westernsydney.edu.au.


10 December 2020

Emma Sandham, Senior Media Officer