Our Board

Sue O'Connor

Portrait photo - Sue O'Connor

President. BAppSc, GDipBus Mgt, FAICD. Appointed 2019
Sue has served as a Chairman, Director and senior business leader with ASX Top10, global unlisted companies and high-profile statutory authorities. She brings to the Board her commercial acumen and deep expertise in technology, climate change, capital management and risk. Sue is currently Chair of Yarra Valley Water, a Director of Mercer Superannuation, Treasury Corporation Victoria, Kordia Ltd and ClimateWorks Australia, and an Advisory Council member of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute. Sue is also a photographer and video artist who uses her art to promote conversations about the environment and our relationship and response to the natural world.

Nicholas Burton Taylor AM

Portrait photo - Nick Burton Taylor

Vice President & Treasurer. BEc (Syd), F Fin, FCA, FAICD, FCPA. Appointed 2013, elected Vice President in August 2017
Nick has a longstanding commitment to rural communities and extensive experience in the Australian agricultural sector. He owns Hillgrove Pastoral – the operator of properties in Tasmania, Southern NSW and Cape York, and the genetic operation Kenny's Creek Angus. Nick is currently the Chancellor of Southern Cross University, Chair of the Country Education Foundation of Australia and has served on the boards of several listed companies including Rural Press, Australian Agricultural Company, CSR and GrainCorp.

Dr Alexander Gosling AM

Portrait photo - Dr Alexander Gosling

FTSE FIEAust Deng MA(Hons) MAICD. Appointed 2016
Dr Alexander Gosling was the founding director of Invetech, and has worked in the field of product development and technology commercialisation for 40 years. He has been appointed a member of the Order of Australia for services to industry, technology and the community, awarded an honorary Doctorate of Engineering, elected a fellow of the Academy of Technology and Engineering and a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers Australia, and sits on a number of Boards. He is an active supporter of Zoos Victoria’s “Fighting Extinction” programme. He produced a film about the Outback which included a section on Bush Heritage.

Avelina Tarrago

Portrait photo - Avelina Tarrago

LLB. Appointed 2019
Avelina is a Wangkamadla woman from central-west Queensland – the region in which our Cravens Peak and Ethabuka Reserves are located. In 2017 Avelina was called to the Queensland bar. She holds a Bachelor of Laws and Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and has been admitted in the Supreme Court of Queensland since 2009. Avelina worked for many years as a Federal Prosecutor for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and for the Queensland Office of the Health Ombudsman. Avelina is President of the Indigenous Lawyers Association of Queensland, the Queensland Great Artesian Basin Advisory Council and the Councillor Conduct Tribunal.

Distinguished Prof Michelle Leishman

Michelle Leichman

BSc (Hons), PhD. Appointed 2015
Michelle is a plant ecologist with over 25 years' research experience focused on invasive plants, vegetation response and adaptation to climate change, restoration ecology, plant conservation and urban greening. She leads a research group in the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University. Michelle is a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust and Chair of their Scientific and Conservation Committee. She is also an elected council member of the Australian Flora Foundation and a member of the International Science Advisory Board of NEW Zealand's bio-Protection Research Centre.

Phillip Cornwell

Phillip Cornwell

BA LLB (Hons). Appointed 2015
Phillip is a long term supporter of Bush Heritage Australia. After 32 years as a partner at commercial law firm Allens where, as well as heading its Project Finance practice, Phillip for many years chaired its Pro Bono and Footprint Committees. Phillip is now a Senior Finance Counsel at Allens. In addition, he is a director of Suicide Prevention Australia and chairs its governance committee, and is also a director and the chair of the Australian Pro Bono Centre.

Dr Rebecca Nelson

Portrait photo - Rebecca Nelson

J.S.D., J.S.M., B.E. (Env.Eng.)/LL.B. Appointed 2014
Rebecca is a lawyer who researches, teaches and advises on environmental and water management, regulation and policy. She's an Associate Professor at the Melbourne Law School at the University of Melbourne, and a Fellow (Non-Resident) of the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. Rebecca combines this work with independent consulting. In 2014, Rebecca was named the Australian Young Environmental Lawyer of the Year by the Law Council of Australia for her significant contribution to environmental law.

Professor Sarah Bekessy

Portrait photo - Professor Sarah Bekessy

PhD, BSc (Hons). Appointed 2017
Sarah leads ICON Science at RMIT University (Interdisciplinary Conservation Science), which seeks to engage in high-impact, interdisciplinary and collaborative research to find solutions to applied environmental problems. She's involved in a range of research projects, including an ARC Future Fellowship titled ‘Socio-ecological models for environmental decision making’, an H2020 grant on nature-based solutions for cities and a project on conservation message framing with the National Environment Science Programme Threatened Species Recovery Hub.

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