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Chamberlain River, Kimberley. Photo: Preeti Castle

Board Chair: Dr Ian Cresswell

Dr. Ian Cresswell, Adjunct Professor, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of NSW, has extensive experience working in environmental science in biodiversity conservation and discovery, oceans governance, fisheries management, wildlife regulation, and protected areas. He has led major programs in CSIRO both in marine science and terrestrial and freshwater ecology. Previous to this Ian worked within the Australian Government as a Senior Executive leading oceans management, sustainable fisheries assessments, international wildlife management, as well as the Director of the Australian Biological Resources Study. Ian is also the co-Chair of the national State of the Environment 2021 report, and is a member of the Board of the Western Australian Marine Science Institute. He maintains an ongoing research interest in multiple-use management and coastal systems.

Director and Chair of CLIC: Dr Steve Morton

Steve is an Honorary Professorial Fellow with Charles Darwin University in Alice Springs.  He was educated at the University of Melbourne before undertaking postdoctoral work at the University of California, Irvine and the University of Sydney.  He worked for some years in the wet-dry tropics of the Top End with the Office of the Supervising Scientist, and then joined CSIRO in Alice Springs to work in the desert environment that has been the major focus of his ecological work. Subsequently, Dr Morton spent ten years in the leadership of CSIRO as a Chief of Division and member of the Executive Team, working from Canberra and Melbourne.  After retirement from full-time employment in 2011 he returned to live in Alice Springs.  From here he serves on a variety of boards and committees relating to environmental and natural resource management, and continues to think and write about ecology, mostly to do with the Australian deserts.

Director: Dr Margaret Byrne 

Margaret is Executive Director, Biodiversity and Conservation Science at the Department of Parks and Wildlife where she is responsible for the integration of science, policy and on ground management for biodiversity conservation. Margaret has a strong interest in effective leadership and management and sees effective partnerships across organisations as critical to the achievement of conservation goals. She is also recognised as a leading biological scientist in Australia with over 180 publications, and uses this to affect a strong evidence based approach to biodiversity conservation in Western Australia. Margaret obtained a PhD from The University of Western Australia and was a Post-doctoral Fellow at CSIRO in Canberra before returning to Perth to develop and manage a conservation genetics program in the then Department of Conservation and Land Management prior to taking on a greater science management role.

Director: Professor Craig Moritz

Craig is a professor and ARC Laureate Fellow at ANU. He established and directs the Centre for Biodiversity Analysis, an ANU-CSIRO joint effort to develop capacity in evolutionary biology and its applications to conservation. As a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, he also chairs the AAS National Committee for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation. Formerly, he was Director of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley. His research focussed on applications of genomics and spatial modelling to the discovery and conservation of biodiversity, especially in northern Australia.

Director: Vern Newton

Vern’s areas of expertise include working for a number of construction material and mining companies in senior roles encompassing Operations, Logistics, Budgeting, Strategic Planning and Marketing within the Kimberley, Pilbara, South West, Goldfields and Metropolitan area of WA and Australia as a whole.  He has been involved in driving sustainable policies within corporate organisations including developing Energy Management Policy for a large Australian construction materials company, which resulted in the particular company being the first sign up for the Australian Greenhouse Challenge with the Federal Government about six years ago.

With Rocla, Vern engaged with research institutes to help achieve partnerships between industry and science so that a higher standard of restoration is achieved on the ground. Additionally, Vern liaises with government (both Federal & State) and regulatory bodies regarding the benefits of restoration to ensure restoration principles are a key focus for government so that development occurs in a sustainable manner and net increases in habitat begin to occur.  With the recent acquisition of Rocla Quarry Products by Hanson  Construction Materials (Australia), Vern will continue his work in the Resource Development field with Hanson.

Director: Gavin Price

Gavin is currently the Head of Environment for BHP Billiton’s Iron Ore operations. Gavin has worked across the minerals and processing industry sectors for 27 years in the fields of Environment, Health and Safety, External Affairs and Sustainable Development and brings strong operational experience in research science application in industry, including Board representation for research. Having a profession in Environmental Science, Gavin continues to actively support the development of environmental management through industry and community initiatives such as the NGO Industry Forum within the Chamber of Minerals and Energy, where early support was generated for the establishment of the WABSI.

Director: Shirley McPherson

Shirley is an outstanding Aboriginal leader with strong governance skills and experience in business, finance, accountancy as well as in education and government. A Yamatji and Nyoongar woman from the Perth and Murchison regions of W.A. Shirley has represented Aboriginal people at both a federal and state level and is a long standing member of the official Australian delegation to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples. Her previous experience includes roles as Group Manager, Indigenous Strategy and Business at Leighton Contractors, Chair of Ngarda Civil and Mining, Chair of the Indigenous Land Corporation, and as Minister Adviser for the Commonwealth Government.

Director: Dr Debra Cousins

Dr Debra Cousins is the Executive Director, Science and Innovation, at the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation. She has extensive experience in working at the interface of government, universities and industry in agriculture and food, public health and other sectors. She has a sound understanding of, and experience working in biosecurity and regulation over many years, including at the national level.

Debra is well regarded for her strengths in policy, strategic thinking and stakeholder engagement and has held executive leadership roles in the Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre, and in the public sector in WA and Victoria. She has international experience providing advice to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Organisation for Animal Health.

Debra holds a PhD in Microbiology from UWA, has almost 100 publications in international journals, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Director: Dr Nygarie Goyal

In her role as Executive Director at the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), Nygarie leads the Science and Planning directorate. This directorate provides evidence-based information to stakeholders, as well as supports regulatory decision-making and the department’s stewardship role in environmental and water resource management. Science and Planning delivers water information; water resource assessments; environmental noise; air quality, terrestrial and marine ecosystem advice; contaminated sites regulation; and urban water, water source protection, and water supply and water allocation planning.

With vast experience in complex policy issues, service delivery, natural resource management and agriculture, Nygarie has a keen focus on collaboration – working with stakeholders across government, industry and community to provide expert advice and analysis on current and developing issues as well on issues and opportunities.

Nygarie has held several senior roles with the Federal Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE), including as Principal Veterinary Officer (Director). With specialist expertise in veterinary science, Nygarie has had a significant impact on the development, implementation and review of policy and operational reform for live animal exports. Nygarie was also the Diversity Ambassador for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employees’ network (West) with DAWE. Nygarie captured national local issues, while providing support for the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander network in Western Australia. In Nygarie’s current role at DWER, she is a champion for DWER’s Reconciliation Action Plan and also chair’s the Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group.

Nygarie is currently studying an MBA from Southern Cross University and holds a Master of Veterinary Studies (Veterinary Surveillance) from Murdoch University and a Master of Environmental Management from the University of Newcastle.

Director: Dr Kristen Williams

Kristen is a principal research scientist at CSIRO Land and Water with extensive experience in research management, coordination and delivery. She has extensive experience co-designing research with end users to ensure outputs meet their needs with a focus on biodiversity conservation, vegetation management policies, NRM planning and prioritising conservation investment strategies.

At CSIRO, Kristen was the inaugural Research Director for Living Landscapes in 2019/20, bringing together over 80 biophysical scientists from a diversity of terrestrial environmental domains into a cohesive program of work. Prior to this she was a Research Group Leader in biodiversity and ecosystem science supporting strategic development and delivery of the research program’s science, capability and business.

Previous experience includes a role with the Queensland State Government in applied forestry and biodiversity conservation research and planning roles. This included co-developing and implementing the State’s biodiversity planning assessment program, which was recognised through a Planning Institute of Australia Rural Award for Planning Excellence in 2001. In Tasmania, many of her representative dry sclerophyll forest reserve recommendations were implemented.

Kristen has a PhD from the University of Tasmania and has almost 200 publications nationally.

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