David Williams

David Williams has been CEO of the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) since December 2016, naturally stepping into the role after five years as Chief Operating Officer, working in close partnership with then CEO, Kirsty Kelly RPIA (Fellow).

In his role as Chief Operating Officer, David oversaw the conversion of PIA into a company limited by guarantee; stabilised the Institute’s volatile financial situation; and together with Kirsty, developed a set of purpose statements for the organisation as well as fostered a high-performing work culture internally. David also oversaw the establishment of the Registered Planner program.

Prior to joining PIA, David held general management and leadership roles for nearly 20 years, including four years as Chief Executive Officer for Greening Australia, Australia’s largest environmental not-for-profit.

David’s view is that the key strategic challenges facing the built and natural environments are largely the same. Sustainability, livability and resilience in the context of a growing population are issues that David has been focused on throughout his career. Enthusing, educating and empowering members to take action at the personal, professional and community levels has always been David’s favoured tactic to address these key challenges. In both the built and natural environment, planning decisions made today often have a long legacy impact. David believes therefore that PIA’s role is to offer professional planners a strong sense of belonging, to support their career development and to advocate for meaningful policy changes.



“Town planners work to shape our cities and regions to reduce emissions and adapt them to a more unpredictable climate. But it’s clearly now an emergency, because no community can successfully respond to run-away climate change.”



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The National Climate Emergency Summit will convene practitioners, advocates, governments, youth leaders and industry innovators to unpack what a climate emergency response could look like at local, national, and global levels.



Four strategic priorities will steer the Summit Program, presenting a focused conference program of plenary and breakout sessions.

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The Summit Program aims to attract a wide range of participants to help define and align key strategy and action that supports an emergency-scale transition.