Environment a constant in this Commissioner's busy life

01 Feb 2017
News | Environment Commissioner Rod Simpson is so dedicated about protecting and enhancing biodiversity and our natural environment that he barely takes time to walk in the park.

As Environment Commissioner for the Greater Sydney Commission, Rod has been appointed by the Government to have principal responsibility for the activities of the Commission relating to environmental matters. And he loves his job.

Rod says he’s profoundly honoured to be Greater Sydney’s first Environment Commissioner.

"I’m interested in the city and how it works and I find our natural and urban systems endlessly fascinating," Rod said.

Rod’s work experiences are varied and extensive. He has been an environment campaigner, landscape architect, Government consultant, community activist, planner and architect. This means he considers environmental issues from the many perspectives of the community, government, developers, academics and interest groups.

Rod thinks this range of experience was a key reason why he was appointed. And he said: "My most important contribution will be to consistently integrate environmental values into planning processes and frameworks."

Rod’s interest in the environment goes back to his parents who owned a naturalist and scientific supply shop in Sydney, so he was well acquainted with the natural environment of Sydney from an early age.

One of his first roles was working with the Total Environment Centre on the strategy for restoration of the Cooks River. He's won many design, planning and environmental awards as part of his work for Greenpeace; on a car free and car sharing design for Pyrmont and White Bay "which I still think is a good idea"; and on the Sydney Olympics where his work initiated the Green Games concept with Greenpeace.

In State Government Rod helped develop BASIX – a mandated tool measuring water and energy efficiency; and in the Commonwealth sphere he was Urban Design Manager from the inception of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust which manages and preserves major Government-owned lands.

One of the many things he loves about his role is the goodwill and the commitment of people he comes across.

"People in the community are giving up their time and giving us their views on the future of Greater Sydney and in doing so they're working in the public interest," Rod said. "Similarly, I’ve been struck by the enthusiasm and energy of people from Councils, State Government agencies, peak groups and universities.

"The Commission has an opportunity to plan for a wonderful future for Greater Sydney, and lots of people are keen to be a part of that."

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