Meg McDonald

Diplomat, Business leader
Inducted 6th December 2006

Meg McDonald was born in Bellbird in 1956, and educated at St Patrick’s Primary School, and St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar, before completing a degree at the University of New South Wales .

Meg’s early career was spent in the Australian public service, where she became a career diplomat. She served in Geneva doing trade negotiations and was later staff adviser to several Government Ministers. Meg served as Assistant Secretary of the Environment and Antarctic Branch of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) from 1995 to 1997.

As Australia’s Ambassador for the Environment in 1997 until 1998, Meg was lead negotiator for the Kyoto Protocol and other environment treaties. From that role, in 1998 she was appointed Australia’s Deputy Ambassador in Washington DC, a position she held until 2002.

Meg has been a member of several boards and Australian Government Advisory Councils.

In 2002, Meg McDonald was appointed General Manager Corporate Affairs, for Alcoa in Australia, and at the beginning of 2006 she was made President of the Alcoa Foundation. Meg had responsibility for Alcoa and Alcoa Foundation philanthropic and community investment in over 30 countries and for Alcoa’s stakeholder engagement and corporate social responsibility programs. She managed international and external public policy and strategy issues, including climate change.

In 2010, Meg was appointed CEO of Australian Carbon Trust. An independent company appointed by the Australian Government to accelerate the move to a sustainable low carbon economy by providing finance and advice to Australian businesses and the wider community.

Meg held the position of CEO for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation in Sydney from 2013 to 2015. Over this period, the Corporation committed investments of over $1.4bn to catalyse investment in clean energy technologies and energy productivity in Australia. 

In 2016 Meg joined the Board of Directors of Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), a commercially oriented legislated agency established in 2012 which funds renewable energy projects to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia.

Plaque location
54 Vincent Street, Cessnock (garden bed)