Facilitating deep thinking,
debate, and action to solve
our biggest problems

The Alluvium Foundation is a not-for-profit independent organisation affiliated with the Alluvium Group of companies.

We seek to be involved and to influence national debate on complex issues that impact on our society and environment. The Alluvium Foundation is a platform to bring together national and international leaders to discuss and debate key issues and influence policy, planning and practise.

Our Purpose

Many environmental and social challenges that face Australia are proving intractable, with multiple barriers that prevent the development of meaningful solutions. There are many organisations and agencies involved in exploring environmental and social policy and advocating for particular positions.

However, the environmental sector in particular has changed. Today, progress on important issues is made in close collaboration between communites, governments and consultants. What is missing is a group that marshals all of this environmental industry to solve the difficult and wicked environmental problems facing our society.

We believe that there is a need for an independent organisation that will tackle challenging, multi-disciplinary environmental issues, and that will explore a consensus on solutions to those issues.

Our Focus

The Alluvium Foundation provides a forum for debate and deep thinking that is away from the demands and commercial needs of day to day work.  It will allow collaboration amongst big thinkers from industry, research, and government without any ‘exclusivity’ or conflicts of interest.

We aim to solve complex issues across five core focus areas.

Sharing water resources efficiently, sustainably and equitably

Shaping cities and communities

Addressing climate change through enhanced adaption & resilience

Integrating catchment to coast science, engineering & economics

Addressing the decline of our natural resources

We will progress industry debate and influence policy settings to drive positive change.

Each year the Foundation will confront one big environmental problem facing Australia. We do that by enabling collaboration between the brightest minds and innovative organisations using transformational science to develop practical solutions.

  • Develop policy solutions (through a green and white paper process) on the most challenging environmental issues (wicked environmental problems)
  • Coordinate collaboration with a range of individuals, organisations and agencies to focus on key issues
  • Public meetings and debates
  • Invite, host and support distinguished visitors
  • Develop open source technical guidelines, frameworks and tools to help the industry apply solutions.

We are part of the Alluvium Group

The Foundation sits within the Alluvium Group Structure. Founded in 2006, the Alluvium Group has the largest and most experienced group of biophysical scientists, social scientists, engineers, economists, and strategists in Australia working in the water, catchment and climate adaptation sectors.

Our structure includes five independent, but highly integrated consulting practices including Alluvium Consulting, Alluvium International, Natural Capital Economics, EcoFutures and Mosaic Insights.

Alluvium Consulting (www.alluvium.com.au): Alluvium Consulting is a national leader in climate, catchment and waterway science and engineering and advisory services,   We work across policy and strategy, planning, design and program evaluation.

Natural Capital Economics (www.nceconomics.com): Natural Capital Economics delivers true integration of science and economic thinking into project delivery and has a focus on helping clients understand and resolve the most complex and pressing challenges related to natural resources, climate change and risk assessments, and sectors that are directly and indirectly reliant on the natural resource base for ongoing prosperity.

Mosaic Insights (www.mosaicinsights.com.au): Mosaic Insights is a strategy, planning and design practice that focuses on an evidence-based human-centred approach to create healthy, adaptive social landscapes with a focus on climate impacts and adaptation. We support clients with sound data to inform place- based designs that are safe, resilient, equitable and sustainable.

EcoFutures (www.ecofutures.com.au): EcoFutures is focused on resolving landscape scale ecology issues driven by climate change or other long-term impacts. We work to advance and apply concepts of ecological resilience, system understanding, and the ecological relationships associated with climate change

Alluvium International (www.alluvium.com.au):  Alluvium International and its subsidiary Alluvium International India focus on work through the Asia Pacific region.  We deliver policy, strategy and planning advise associated with development challenges at the intersection of people and the environment.


The intent of the Foundation is to engage with industry leadership both domestically and internationally in response to key issues.


Professor Ian Rutherfurd

Director of Research

Ian brings 30 years working with governments and communities in stream and catchment management and brings a rich experience in education and professional training after spending twenty years at the University of Melbourne. Ian has joined Alluvium in a part-time capacity as Director of Research and brings deep experience in the application of research to the Alluvium Group


Dr Paul Maxwell

Research and Development Lead

Paul brings 20 years experience working for state government, universities and not-for-profit organisations and is the Research and Development lead for Alluvium. Throughout his career he has focused on developing better links between the best science and practitioners and has maintained an active research profile by partnering with university and industry researchers nationally and internationally.


Kane Travis


Kane is a co-founder of Alluvium Consulting and has over 30 years of experience in the delivery of environmental programs and projects. As a Director on the Alluvium Holdings board, Kane brings broad level of experience in policy, strategic planning and implementation projects in both urban and rural Australia.


Kristen Podagiel


Kristen has advised and worked with a wide range of boards on the delivery of major projects, governance, legislative changes and in negotiating significant agreements and joint ventures for over 20 years. She has extensive senior executive-level experience, most recently as CEO of Women’s Legal Service Queensland, which provides free legal and social work services to over 5000 Queensland women every year.


Dr Neil Byron


Neil was the Commissioner responsible for environment, agriculture and natural resource management issues in the Productivity Commission from April 1998 to March 2010. He presided over twenty six public inquiries and directed the PC’s environmental economics program. Previous appointments were: at the Bureau of Agricultural Economics in Canberra; teaching resource and environmental economics and development economics at ANU; Chief Technical Adviser of a United Nations Project in Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Assistant Director General of the Centre for International Forestry Research, based in Indonesia. Neil also consulted internationally in the design and evaluation of rural development projects since 1980.



A Symposium on the future for Victoria’s Native Forests

Native forest logging in Victoria will end in December 20923, six years earlier than previously planned. The unexpected announcement now means policy and planning for these forests needs to be advanced much more rapidly than expected.  The Alluvium Foundation, in partnership with the Royal Society of Victoria, ran a joint one-day symposium to bring parties together to talk about the future for these forests, and the communities that depend on them.

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Matching private investment funds with biodiversity outcomes

Given shortfalls in government funding, the need for private investment in promoting biodiversity and ecosystem services is great and we commonly hear that private equity firms are well placed to help fill this gap.    For example, a COP15 biodiversity target is to “Mobilise by 2030 at least $200 billion per year in domestic and international biodiversity-related funding from all sources – public and private”.  There appears to be huge enthusiasm for private investment for biodiversity, and environmental economists have devised numerous models to harvest this money.  But so far the enthusiasm has not been matched by real investment.  Why not?  What are the barriers to matching finance with real environmental outcomes?  The Foundation will explore the barriers to real private investment becoming a significant funding source for protecting biodiversity and ecosystems in Australia and globally.  The goal is to identify the best ideas and opportunities for private investors, as well as policy options for governments.

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Get involved

The Foundation is in a start up stage and over 2023 we will seek to appoint new Directors and welcome organisations and individuals as foundation members.

We will select one or two key issues to focus on per year and invite experts/luminaries to be involved in deliberations and to help us to engage in public debates around the issues. As appropriate, we will partner with other organisations.

We know we can’t do this alone and we will invite industry leaders, academics and key organisations to join us in making the world a better place.  If you have an interest in being involved, please contact us.