Dr Mehreen Faruqi joined the NSW Legislative Council in June 2013 and is the first Muslim woman elected to any Parliament in Australia. Prior to this she was the Director of the Institute of Environmental Studies at University of NSW and an Associate Professor in Business and Sustainability. She is a civil and environmental engineer with a PHD in Environmental Engineering. Since migrating from Pakistan to Australia in 1992, with her young family, Mehreen’s work has focused on developing real solutions to social and environmental challenges.
In 2013, Mehreen received the UNSW Faculty of Engineering Award for Leadership and was voted No.5 in Fairfax Media Daily Life’s list of top 20 women for 2013 who made a difference and inspired Australians and a finalist in 2015. In 2015 she was announced as one of the top 100 Most Influential Engineers in Australia. She is a Fellow of the Institution on Engineers Australia and a member of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand. In October 2017 Mehreen was awarded Grand Stirrer 2017 at the 20th Edna Ryan Awards for the End12 abortion decriminalisation campaign.
Her portfolio responsibilities include the Environment, Transport, Roads, Maritime and Freight, Status of Women, Multiculturalism, Animal Welfare, Drug and Harm Minimisation, Young People, Western Sydney and the NSW Mid North Coast.
Mehreen has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, and a Master and PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of New South Wales (UNSW). She has worked in leadership positions in local government, consulting firms and higher education institutions in Australia and internationally. This includes her role as Manager of Environment and Services for Mosman Council, Manager of Natural Resources and Catchments for Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, and as the Director of the Institute of Environmental Studies (UNSW) and an Associate Professor in Business and Sustainability (AGSM UNSW). Her publications include a co-authored book entitled ‘Environmental Decision-making – Exploring complexity and context.’
Mehreen has delivered major projects such as stormwater reuse and recycling infrastructure, cycle ways, hydropower generation and rainforest rehabilitation as well as doing work for action on climate change and waste reduction. She has chaired a number of panels and committees on sustainability, water and waste management for industry, local, state and federal government.
Mehreen is a passionate activist on a range of issues, and has worked as a volunteer, campaigner, Convenor of NSW Greens’ Women’s Group and candidate for The Greens NSW, including achieving a record 30% of the vote in the 2012 Heffron by-election.
On joining the Greens:
“I joined the Greens in 2004 because of the Greens’ principles and policies on the environment, climate change, education, social justice, grassroots democracy and strong stance on the rights of indigenous peoples and multiculturalism. These are closely aligned with my own values.
I believe our community deserves representatives who advocate open, transparent and participatory democracy, and who have community say in decision-making at the heart of their policy and practice. The Greens actually work to improve the lives and well-being of our communities, not for personal power, political advantage or for the benefit of vested interests”.
On Leadership in the 21st century
“Achieving sustainability is a process of transformational change, where traditional or entrenched norms and values have to be questioned and the status quo challenged. Creating and accepting change is never easy and effective leadership is critical to this change process.
An effective approach to leadership for an equal, just and sustainable society which is cognisant of the realities of complex and ‘wicked’ problems requires collaboration, negotiation, shared learning, adaptive management, persistence and resilience.
This is the shared and collective leadership approach I use to motivate, inspire and work alongside my colleagues and the community”.
Selected PUBLICATIONS and Presentations
- Faruqi, M, (2012). Embracing complexity to enable change, in D Rigling Gallagher, N Christiansen and P Andrews, eds, Environmental Leadership: A Reference Handbook, vol. 2, pp. 772-781, Sage, Thousand Oaks, California
- Faruqi, M, (2012). Leadership for sustainability, Greenmail, Summer 2012
- Faruqi, M (2012) Reflections on Rio +20: Advancing environmental justice as governments abdicate responsibility: what role can the Australian climate movement play? Seminar organised by the Friends of the Earth (FoE), Sydney
- Faruqi, M (2012). Building sustainable cities for communities and Reflections from Rio+20, Community Workshop organised by Future World Eco-technology Centre, University of Wollongong
- Faruqi, M (2012). Do organisations need a sustainability Lens? Conference to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of AGSM, UNSW
- Faruqi, M (2012). Review of ‘Dilemmas in the general theory of planning’ short article by Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber , 1969’, In Knowledgeconnect, The Centre for Social Impact, http://knowledgeconnect.com.au/2012/11/wicked-problems/
- Faruqi, M (2011). Unravelling the ‘S’ word: Sustainability challenges and their implications, 2012 Scientia Lecture, UNSW Scholars
- Harding, R, Hendriks, CM and Faruqi, M (2009). Environmental Decision-Making – Exploring complexity and context, Federation Press, Sydney
- Faruqi, M (2009). Achieving systemic change for sustainability through enabling effective Community Education and Engagement, position paper commissioned by the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, NSW, October 2009
- Faruqi, M (2007) Sustainable Water Management for the Carlton United Brewery (CUB) development site in Sydney – Seminar organised by the Environmental Defenders Office and the City of Sydney
- Faruqi, M and Ryan, R (2007). Transforming watercycle management: A case study in the mid-north coast of NSW. Ozwater March 2007, Sydney
- Faruqi, M and Gerrand, D. (2005). Lighthouse Gully Rainforest and Creek Restoration and Rehabilitation – Sharing the Responsibility for Sustainable outcomes. Stormwater Industry Association 2005 Regional Conference, Port Macquarie, 20-21 April 2005
- Taylor, A and Faruqi, M. (2005). Sustainable stormwater management: What is it and are we on track? Stormwater Industry Association 2005 Regional Conference, Port Macquarie, 20-21 April 2005
- Faruqi, M, Ryan R and Liebman M. (2005). Integrated Water Cycle Management – A Strategic Framework using Hastings Council and GTCC as case studies. Stormwater Industry Association 2005 Regional Conference, Port Macquarie, 20-21 April 2005
- Spry RB, Faruqi M and Phillips BC. (2005). Improving Stormwater Runoff from the Port Macquarie Industrial Area. Stormwater Industry Association 2005 Regional Conference, Port Macquarie.20-21 April 2005
- Rudland S, Ryan R, Faruqi M (2004) Communities, Catchments and Councils-Building capacity for sustainable change, Presented at the AWA Conference ‘Education: The Key to Sustainable Water Management – Going Beyond Conservation’ Rydges Lakeside, Canberra, 28-29 January, 2004
- Faruqi, M. (2003). Weaving our catchment for environmental sustainability-Knowledge based activism, Watermark International Nature Writers Muster 8th – 11th October, Camden Have
- Faruqi, M (2003). Innovative and Integrated Stormwater Education – A case study in the Hastings. Education for sustainability Conference, October 2003, Sydney
- Rudland S, Faruqi M and R Ryan (2003). Evidence Based Environmental Education – What does it really mean? 12th NSW Coastal Conference November 2003 Port Macquarie
- R Ryan, M Faruqi and A Phelps (2003). Strategic Planning for Total Water Cycle Management. 12th NSW Coastal Conference November 2003 Port Macquarie
- Taylor A, Faruqi M et al (2003). Managing Urban Waterway’s – What Australian Cities would do Differently, 12th NSW Coastal Conference November 2003 Port Macquarie
- Faruqi, M. (2002). Port Macquarie Industrial Area Stormwater Pollution Control – Integrated Solutions for Sustainable Outcomes. IPWEA NSW Division Annual Conference 2002
- Faruqi, MS. & Ashbolt, N. Intensification of Anaerobic Ponds for Abattoir Wastewater Treatment and Gas Recover. 2nd International IAWQ conference on Advanced wastewater treatment, Recycling and Reuse. Milano, Italy, 14th-17th September 1998
- Faruqi MS., Boyden BH. & Maroungas, DD. Comparison of Anaerobic Treatment Options for Carbon Removal from Intensive Rural Industries (IRIs) Waste Streams. AWWA 16TH Federal Convention, Sydney 2-6 April 1995
- Boyden, BH., Maroungas, DD., Faruqi, MS. Abattoirs to Wool Scouring: A Review of Waste Generation in Australian IRIs. 2nd National Hazardous and Solid Waste Convention & Trade Exhibition, Melbourne, 8-12 May 1994