We are small, but we are mighty…
Here at West Gippy CMA, we share a passion for natural resource management and work respectfully and supportively with each other, Traditional Owners, community and partners for a better environment.
Our team is dedicated, knowledgeable and experienced – you will see us out in the field, collaborating with partners, planting, recording, measuring and more. Credibility and innovation are key to our work culture.
Each of us plays our part in achieving our vision of a healthy catchment, valued and cared for by the community, that underpins the environmental, social, cultural and economic wealth of the region.
You can read more about our team and values in our Annual Report.
“The best thing about my work is spending time out and about on Gippsland’s stunning waterways. We are incredibly lucky to have so many river and wetland systems, and the biodiversity that can be found amongst productive farm country constantly surprises me. I love working with landholders to understand and protect these hidden gems.”
Elsa Burnell, Project Coordinator
“Estuaries and coasts are dynamic systems, and this makes my job both challenging and super rewarding.”
Callum Edwards, Coastal Waterways Officer
“Ensuring Traditional Owners are leading our work together is the most important and rewarding part of my job. The cultural values of our catchment are amazing and it is a privilege to be able to work to recognise and protect them.”
Mandy Leggett, Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Officer
“Weed control sites are usually very scenic areas and popular for recreation, so it is a great place to be able to work.”
Matt Bowler, Manager Project Delivery
Our Board is a skills based Board appointed by the state government, and is responsible for the strategic and policy direction of the organisation, and is made up of the following members as of 1 October, 2021.
Mikaela is the chair of our board and holds qualifications in arts, education, business and company directorship. She has worked in the public and private sectors in Gippsland, Melbourne and internationally and now works at Federation University. Mikaela was a Baw Baw Shire Councillor from 2012-2020, serving as Mayor and Deputy Mayor during this time. She was Deputy Chair of the Periurban Group of Rural Councils and chaired the West Gippsland Library Board for four years. Her community involvement includes Landcare, education, sport and the arts.
Belinda, is a primary producer involved in the family’s wagyu beef enterprise in Gippsland and the vice chair of our board. She holds qualifications in Environmental and Marine Science and has extensive experience in NRM including managing on-ground environmental projects, strategic coastal projects, heritage projects and complex environmental assessments. Belinda has worked in the public and private sectors in Gippsland and Melbourne. She has proven experience in engaging with stakeholders at the State, local government and community levels. Belinda is passionate about improving the family farm through revegetation and protection of waterways and is an active volunteer in her local community.
Nick holds an undergraduate degree in education, post graduate qualifications in Management and Occupational Health and Safety, and is a graduate of the AICD. He has worked in the public and private sectors and has extensive Board experience with for-profit, not-for-profit, and member-based entities.
Nick is currently Chair of the Regional Tourism Board, Destination Gippsland Ltd, a member of the Gippsland Lakes Coordinating Committee and former member of the Gippsland Lakes Ministerial Advisory Committee. He is also currently principal of a boutique consultancy practice providing services to a range of public and private sector clients.
Nick is an experienced Chief Executive Officer and, prior to retirement from full time work, was CEO of Gippsland Ports from 2008 to 2018.
He has a strong belief that positive conservation outcomes can be achieved through, and in conjunction with, sustainable regional development.
Peter is a retired farmer and former chair of our board; he holds qualifications in farming, science, education, management and company directorship. Peter moved from NSW to farm at Giffard in 1981 after working as a science teacher and at Outward Bound. He has been involved with local government, both as a councillor and commissioner and with the Rural Financial Counselling Service, as a counsellor, Executive Officer and currently as a board member.
Peter is a past co-chair of the Gippsland Lakes Coordinating Committee, member of the Gippsland Coastal Board, the Shire of Alberton River Improvement Trust, the Corner Inlet Waterway Authority and was chair of the Gippsland Grammar Board. He has also had many years of involvement with the VFF, CFA and Landcare.
Liz has operated as a certified organic farmer since 1991, working in the Gippsland region for over 32 years to bring transdisciplinary knowledge in her social, ecological sustainability and agriculture focus on local natural resources and ecosystems. She has recent and relevant industry experience and has contributed to numerous industry advisory committees including the Southern Rural Water Irrigator Advisory Committee and a previous term with West Gippsland CMA.
Liz holds formal qualifications in Applied Science (Systems Agriculture and Rural Development) and consults in ecological production systems and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).
Shelley has over 25 years’ experience in the land and water management sector including roles in research, extension and policy.
She holds a Bachelor or Agricultural Science (Honours) and is a Sessional Member of Planning Panels Victoria. Previously she was a Director of Coliban Water and a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Brian is a proud Gunai man, originating from East Gippsland with a deep understanding and strong connection to his cultural heritage, identity and community. He has worked to support Aboriginal people and communities by leading and shaping government policy and strategies that focus on Aboriginal health, leadership and economic development.
With over 30 years’ experience in various Aboriginal leadership roles, Brian has contributed to the development of government policy and systems as well as corporate and business planning, change management, program design, evaluation and reporting.
Brian is an experienced board member, he has led the development of community organisations, and is currently the Chairperson for the Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal Health in East Gippsland and a member of the Bass Coast Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee. He is an Alumni of the Melbourne Business School, MURRA Indigenous Business program, a qualified and accredited coach and facilitator, trained in conflict management, adult education and training and completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors Training.
Susan is a primary producer of beef cattle in Bunyip and has conservation qualifications and experience in beef and dairy farm renovation and management.
From 2015 to 2021 Susan was a board member of the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority and was deputy chair from 2018. She has extensive Landcare and community contacts in the Westernport catchment and is a life member and president of the Bunyip Landcare Group.
Susan is a member of Landcare Victoria’s Members’ Council of the Koo Wee Rup Flood Protection District Advisory Committee and a committee member of the Cardinia Environment Coalition and of the Environmental Farmers’ Network.
Jodie has over 25 years’ professional experience in forest management, environmental auditing, research program management and industry engagement and has worked in operational and consulting roles across the public and private sectors.
Jodie holds a forest science degree and post-graduate business management qualifications (MBA), is a past board member of Australian Forestry Standard Ltd. and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Good governance ensures accountability and transparency. We’re required to list certain items on our website to meet government legislation. This includes the Statement of Obligations and Protected Disclosure Procedure. All governance information is available here.