Vanessa O’Keefe
National Technical Leader – Water Policy and Planning

We are thrilled to welcome Vanessa O’Keefe to the new position of National Technical Leader – Water Policy and Planning.

Vanessa’s experience and leadership of water resource management in NSW, Australia and internationally is second to none. Her active role in creating, planning and executing key water management decisions over the years is significant, and she is well known not just for her skills and experience, but her leadership in this space. Vanessa has held instrumental roles in water resource management for 28 years, both as a senior public servant in the NSW government, and as a consultant within Australia and overseas.

Prior to joining EMM, Vanessa was the Executive Director of Policy and Planning at NSW DPIE – Water. In this role Vanessa was responsible for the development, implementation and review of water resource management regulatory frameworks, policies and plans based on best practice science, analytics and modelling across the state.

Preceding her career in the public sector, Vanessa provided results focused advice to Governments in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region on regulatory, governance, policy, and planning frameworks, and management and implementation mechanisms for water, environmental and disaster risk management. She also advised the private sector on the water resource management aspects of both large and smaller developments.

Sam Cook, EMM’s Water Division Leader, welcomes Vanessa’s expertise in strategic and operational policy and planning obtained across a diverse portfolio of projects locally and internationally.

Vanessa is one of those people who leaves you in awe. Her work ethic, industry knowledge and ability to achieve the right outcomes are simply inspiring. Vanessa’s appointment to the team creates opportunities for all our staff to enhance their skills and our clients to enact meaningful change.”

“I am excited to work with our diverse and highly experienced national team of surface water and groundwater specialists”, said Vanessa.  “I’m looking forward to working with a diversity of clients and work alongside the team to share my knowledge and experience in governance, regulatory, policy, planning and management aspects of water management. It’s a great company, with dynamic, highly motivated and skilled professionals, and an organisational culture second to none.”

The national water team at EMM comprises 40+ professionals dedicated to working collaboratively with our clients to achieve practical and environmentally responsible project outcomes.  The team adopt innovative approaches to approval strategies, environmental assessments and methods for communicating complex science to a broader audience.  Since 2013, EMM has contributed to the development of many contemporary policies and guidelines either through committee participation or direct engagement by government agencies across Australia.

Vanessa holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Chemistry) and a Master of Environmental Studies and is trained in alternative dispute resolution.