John Thwaites is a Professorial Fellow, Monash University and Chair of ClimateWorks Australia and the Monash Sustainable Development Institute. He is a consultant at Maddocks Solicitors providing advice to the firm and its clients on climate change, water, sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He is one of six Co-Chairs of the Leadership Council of the global Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). Launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2012, the Network provides expert advice and support on the development of the post-2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
John chairs the Australian Building Codes Board, the Peter Cullen Water and Environment Trust, Melbourne Water and is a Director of the Australian Green Building Council. He was previously Chair of the National Sustainability Council, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, the Climate Group Ltd in Australia and a Director of the Harold Mitchell Foundation. In 2008 -2009, John was a special adviser to the Timor-Leste Minister for Infrastructure and helped develop an Infrastructure plan for Timor-Leste. He has advised state and local governments on climate change and energy policy.
In 2012, John was named one of the top 100 Global Sustainability Leaders by ABC Carbon and Sustainability Showcase Asia. He chairs a project with the Brotherhood of St Laurence to develop policies to assist low-income Australians cope with the impact of climate change and chaired a joint Brotherhood of St Laurence/KPMG Report on a national energy efficiency program for low income households.
John was Deputy Premier of Victoria from 1999 until his retirement in 2007. During this period he was Minister for Health, Minister for Planning, Minister for Environment, Minister for Water, Minister for Victorian Communities and Victoria's first Minister for Climate Change. In these portfolios he was responsible for major reforms in social policy, health, environment and water. John was a Member of the Victorian Parliament from 1992 to 2007, and was a barrister prior to entering Parliament. He was a Councillor City of South Melbourne (1985-1993) and Mayor in 1991-1992. He has degrees in Law (Honours) and Science from Monash University.