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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, CDC Data Centres 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.

Phillip Cornwell

Phillip Cornwell

Vice President. BA LLB (Hons). Appointed 2015
Phillip is a long-term supporter of Bush Heritage Australia. For 32 years he was a partner at commercial law firm Allens, heading its Project Finance practice and chairing its Pro Bono and Footprint Committees. Phillip is now a Senior Finance Counsel at Allens. In addition, he is a director of the Midlands Conservation Fund, a director and deputy chair of Suicide Prevention Australia, and a director and the chair of the Australian Pro Bono Centre.

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 Pilungah 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 o.f the Health Ombudsman. Avelina is President of the Indigenous Lawyers Association of Queensland and the Queensland Great Artesian Basin Advisory Council.

Distinguished Prof Michelle Leishman

Michelle Leichman

BSc (Hons), PhD. Appointed 2015
Michelle is a plant ecologist with over 30 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 School of Natural Sciences at Macquarie University and is the Director of Smart Green Cities. Michelle is a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust and Chair of the Australian Institute of Botanical Sciences Advisory Council. 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. Michelle has been awarded the Clarke Medal (Botany) by the Royal Society of NSW, and is the Journal of Ecology's Eminent Ecologist for 2021.

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 member of the Advisory Committee on Social, Economic and Environmental Sciences of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority. 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 investigating nature-based solutions for cities, biodiversity sensitive urban design, message framing for effective biodiversity communications, and designing effective private land conservation schemes.

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