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Renowned academic and policy leader named new Curtin Provost

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Curtin University has named Professor Matthew Tonts as its new Provost, commencing 17 June, 2024.

Professor Tonts joins Curtin with extensive leadership experience spanning academia, government and industry and as Provost, will lead all aspects of Curtin’s academic program and play a key role in implementing its Strategy 2030.

Since 2021, he has been Chair of Western Australia’s independent Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and provides advice to the State government on the impacts of major projects, environmental policy and regulation.

He is also Chair of the cross-government Heads of Environmental Protection Agencies for Australia and New Zealand and has held numerous Non-Executive Director and advisory positions spanning diverse sectors, including environment, regional development and spatial planning.

Professor Tonts’ academic career began with a Bachelor of Arts (Geography and Environmental Management) from Edith Cowan University, and he later went on to complete his Doctor of Philosophy (Geography) at Curtin in 1999.

An internationally renowned scholar in regional development, Professor Tonts has held key leadership roles within the academic sector, most recently as Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean at The University of Western Australia.

In 2020 he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.

Curtin Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said Professor Tonts was the ideal candidate to continue and expand upon the University’s high academic standards and delivery of an exceptional student experience.

“We are thrilled to welcome Professor Tonts back to Curtin as our new Provost,” Professor Hayne said.

“He brings a wealth of interdisciplinary experience across education, research and practice, which will no doubt benefit students, staff and the broader Curtin community immensely.

“His leadership focus on supportive and sustainable workplace culture, coupled with his experience in delivering complex strategic plans will complement the skills and strengths of our University executive team.”

Professor Tonts said he was honoured to be named Curtin University Provost and would bring his passion for maximising the student experience, creating meaningful partnerships and setting ambitious social impact and sustainability agendas to the role.

“I have a deep commitment to higher education and firmly believe in its transformative power to change individual lives and build thriving communities,” Professor Tonts said.

“Being appointed Provost is a privilege and I am thrilled to be part of an institution committed to quality education, societal impact and nurturing our future leaders.

“I look forward to working alongside Curtin’s academic community to foster a collaborative culture where both staff and students can thrive.”

Professor Tonts will take over the Provost role from Professor Jeremy Kilburn, who is leaving Curtin to return to the UK.

Professor Hayne said Professor Kilburn had made an invaluable contribution to Curtin.

“I would like to take this opportunity to offer my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Professor Kilburn for his leadership during his three years as Provost and before that as Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

“Jeremy has made a great contribution to Curtin and we wish him all the very best.”

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