In 2010, the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC) published their Grand Challenges in Global Sustainability Research, seeking to mobilise researchers in a 10-year scientific effort to address what they call the “grand challenges in global sustainability”. In this paper, we ask whether these Grand Challenges are relevant to Australian environmental management. We examine this from two angles, insights from public perception surveys, and our own survey data. Public attitudes surveys indicate public ambiguity on the knowledge base, a finding that implies an immediate need for improved public communication of scientific knowledge. Our on-line survey, attached to a conference, Innovative Solutions for Environmental Challenges, targeted Australian environmental managers and scientists’ views on critical issues. The results mirrored global scientists’ views on the need to find ways for the scientific, social and political communities to work together to develop innovative approaches to solving future environmental concerns. Importantly, we found that the specific responses were context and scale dependent, while highlighting the inherent tensions between maintaining production and consumption, and protection of resources and ecosystem services.