Event overview

A consortium of government and leading built-environment industry bodies established the seminar series, Melbourne Forum, to focus on promoting sustainability in the commercial built environment. 

The Melbourne Forum is currently supported by Sustainability Victoria, Sustainable Building Innovation Laboratory (SBi Lab) – RMIT University, Melbourne School of Design – University of Melbourne, City of Melbourne, City West Water and AIRAH

Aims and objectives

The forums aim to increase the development and refurbishment of green commercial buildings in Victoria to achieve greater levels of sustainable performance. The forums demonstrate environmental leadership by each partner organisation, facilitating discussion and debate around sustainability in the built environment in Melbourne and, more broadly, Victoria. The series facilitate a unique space for leading practitioners and policymakers in the built-environment sector to come together and discuss sustainability issues, technologies and developments, as well as to share ideas and experiences.


The Melbourne Forum has been running since 2006, with the support of Sustainability Victoria, University of Melbourne, RMIT University, City West Water, City of Melbourne, and Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air-conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) among others.

Most recent Forum

Melbourne Forum – Energy Poverty

June 25, 2019

As the price of energy increases, so too will the number of households struggling to pay their electricity bills.
Low-income individuals and families typically live in lower-quality housing with poor insulation, heating and cooling. Energy-efficient appliances can be considered an expensive – and therefore unaffordable – luxury for people in this economic bracket. As a result, they then end up paying disproportionately more of their income on energy compared to the national average.

This Melbourne Forum addresses energy vulnerability in Australia. The event features discussions on:
  • Who is likely to be vulnerable?
  • How is the transforming energy market affecting consumers (particularly within the vulnerable population)?
  • How can industry and government engage and assist consumers suffering energy and water hardship?

Click here to register

The Melbourne Forum is a free event. Please ensure you register as soon as possible to assist the organisers with event catering.


Tuesday, June 25

5.30pm – Registration desk opens
6pm – Presentations begin 
7.30pm – Approximate end time, followed by networking, drinks and finger food
8.30pm – Event ends

The Treasury Theatre, Lower Plaza, 1 Macarthur St, East Melbourne (view map)

Take the stairs next to the white umbrellas in the courtyard, down to the lower plaza. The theatre is on the left, under the stairs. 

Topics and speakers

Energy poverty, and why it matters
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Dr Nicola Willand (LinkedIn)
Lecturer at the School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University

Energy poverty is a concept linking energy, equity, buildings and health. In the context of low-carbon transitions, facilitating access to affordable, clean and reliable energy has become a moral imperative. This talk will provide an overview of definitions, indicators and vulnerable population groups, and present a proposition of providing energy support through the Care at Home system.

Dr Willand is a lecturer at RMIT’s School of Property, Construction and Project Management. With a background in architecture, she approaches sustainability in the built environment holistically. Her research aims to develop strategies that will minimise environmental impacts and life-cycle costs while maximising productivity, health and social equity.
Providing consumers with the help they need – consumer behavioural insights
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Kerry Connors (LinkedIn)
Associate Director, Research at Energy Consumers Australia

Research by Energy Consumers Australia (ECA) Power Shift underlines the link between energy and household health, and enabling social and economic inclusion. Consumers face high prices and technological change, factors that are transforming the energy market. Power Shift’s tools assist the industry and government in providing better assistance to consumers to help them manage their energy bills and usage.

Connors has been with ECA since its inception, building on extensive experience with energy consumer issues. Previously, she was executive director of the Consumer Advocacy Panel and the inaugural executive officer of the Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre. She has also worked in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (including a posting to the Australian Embassy in Seoul) and has managed her own consultancy business, strengthening relations between the private and community sectors.

Latrobe Valley Home Energy Upgrade Program
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Michele Burton (LinkedIn)
Senior Project Adviser of Sustainable Homes at Sustainability Victoria

The Latrobe Valley Home Energy Upgrades Program is a project being delivered by Sustainability Victoria. It helps low-income households reduce their energy use and improve their thermal comfort by delivering energy-saving retrofits to their homes. Recently, Sustainability Victoria ran a randomised controlled trial using behaviour-change interventions to recruit AGL hardship customers to the program. This talk will be an overview of the program, with a focus on the work with AGL customers.

Burton is the senior project adviser of sustainable homes at Sustainability Victoria. For over a decade, she has been working on improving energy-efficiency outcomes for low-income households through the design and delivery of multiple behaviour-change and retrofit programs. She has worked for Environment Victoria, the Australian Conservation Foundation and both local and state governments.

Past Melbourne Forums

Click here for more information about past Melbourne Forums.