Local efforts to address complex climate and energy challenges will be top of the agenda today as the University of the Sunshine Coast hosts the Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy Ted O’Brien as part of a nation-wide ‘listening tour’.
Ted O’Brien said he was eager to tap into the minds of some of Australia’s leading experts on climate change and energy, some of whom are based on the Sunshine Coast.
“It’s my job to renew the Coalition’s climate and energy policies ahead of the next federal election and a big part of that is taking advice and listening to the experts,” Mr O’Brien said.
“Learning locally is always a priority for me and so I jumped at the opportunity to visit UniSC before I travel south to meet some of Australia’s largest energy users and producers.”
“I’ve long held the view that the Sunshine Coast could become the healthiest place on earth and it’s organisations such as the University of the Sunshine Coast that are leading the way.”
UniSC was internationally recognised for alignment with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, achieving the top five global position for Clean Water and Sanitation in the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking for 2022.
Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Helen Bartlett said the university was proud to be a sustainability leader making an impact on the local and global stage.
“At UniSC, our researchers are finding effective solutions to global environmental problems and our students are learning to create global solutions,” Professor Bartlett said.
“We were the first university to install a water battery on campus to cut energy costs, and now we are building that knowledge into our programs to ensure our graduates will continue this legacy as they take on the complex environmental challenges of tomorrow.
“We also adhere to our sustainability values every day on our campus by ensuring our policies align with the 17 goals set by the United Nations which are about achieving a more sustainable future for all.”
As part of the local leg of the listening tour, Mr O’Brien will learn about UniSC’s sustainability initiatives including the water battery, which features over 6,000 solar panels and cuts the Sunshine Coast campus energy use by 35 per cent.
This will be followed by a discussion with leading researcher Professor Nick Paul, Deputy Head of School (Research), School of Science, Technology and Engineering about his work on the methane-busting pink seaweed Asparogopsis which has heralded headlines across the world.
Finally, a group of PhD students looking at elements of the energy technology sector will have a chance to brief Mr O’Brien on the latest innovations for creating a more sustainable industry and agriculture sector.
Professor Bartlett said it was a pleasure to host Mr O’Brien and provide a briefing on the great work the university is doing across five campuses as well as work in the community which has contributed to it being placed in the top three percent globally and highest-ranked in Queensland for climate action and sustainability.