GW NSW President, Awardee and Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley QC


GW-NSW recently presented its Australia Day Award at the NCW-NSW Australia Day function at Parliament House. Please read an article by Dr Jane Baker about the presentation and the award winner Philippa Higgins.

On 23 January GW-NSW attended the NCW NSW Australia Day lunch in considerable numbers to hear Prof Gabrielle Casper talk on ‘Women Leaders – or Difficult Women’ and to see our awardee Philippa Higgins presented with her cheque and certificate by the new NSW Governor, Her Excellency Margaret Beazley.

Starting in WA and crossing the Nullabor to Melbourne and gaining First Class honours in Environmental Engineering at RMIT Philippa was awarded an Erasmus Scholarship to pursue a Master of Water Science in the Netherlands in Delft. She is a current recipient of one of UNSW’s prestigious Scientia PhD scholarships, which reflects her academic strengths and social engagement.

Her PhD explores the impacts of climate change on the groundwater resources of Pacific Island communities. Small Pacific Islands are highly vulnerable to natural disasters such as droughts, and water scarcity disproportionally affects women. Through her research, Philippa is assisting communities to manage their water resources sustainably and build resilience to climate change.

Philippa is a dedicated water resource professional and brings to her research the experience of  four years of working for the Australian Government in climate change and water management roles. This gives her a unique perspective encompassing both the scientific and political aspects of water resource management.

Philippa is also a passionate supporter of environmental sustainability on the university campus. She is active in the ShareWaste initiative, which prevents food waste going to landfill, and is a weekly volunteer at the university’s food cooperative, making cheap, ethically produced food available to university students and staff.

Outside university Philippa is also active in her local community – volunteersing at her local community garden helping to build a strong, resilient and supportive local community.

She has much to offer regarding Australia’s future management of its scarce water resources and we congratulate her on her work and this achievement.