The purpose of the Commissioner's Reference Group is to provide advice to the Commissioner that reflects the current strategic direction and deliverables within the CES Act. Members are reappointed annually by the Commissioner under the Commissioner's Reference Group Terms of Reference, which can be downloaded here: Commissioner Reference Group TOR_2019.pdf
Our valued Members include:
Ms Victoria Marles, Chief Executive Officer of Trust for Nature
Ms Victoria Marles leads Trust for Nature (Victorian Conservation Trust), a key statutory environment organisation focused on private land conservation and the development of eco-markets. This role utilises her extensive experience as a lawyer and senior executive in the media, communications and consumer protection sectors. She joined Trust for Nature in 2009 after recognising the organisation’s work protecting biodiversity in the state of Victoria.
In addition to her responsibilities at Trust for Nature, Victoria is also on the steering committee of the International Land Conservation Network and the Australian Business Biodiversity Initiative.
As Victoria’s first Legal Services Commissioner, she supervised the establishment of the current Victorian legal regulatory framework. As Deputy Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, Legal Services Commissioner and a tribunal member in the jurisdiction of guardianship and administration, Victoria has developed extensive dispute resolution experience.
Dr Kirsten Shelly, Council Member of the Victorian Catchment Management Council
Dr Kristen Shelly was appointed as a Council Member to the Victorian Catchment Management Council (VCMC) in September 2018. VCMC provides independent advice on the condition of land and water resources, and the priorities for Victorian Catchment Management Authorities. VCMC is also tasked with advising government to help prepare Victoria for future environmental challenges including climate change and population growth, increasing land use, and natural disasters such as bushfires and floods.
Dr Shelly currently works at Melbourne Water, where she has held several management roles, including Manager of the Western Treatment Plant, General Manager of Waterways and Land, and Manager of Catchments and Water Quality. Prior to working at Melbourne Water, Dr Shelly was a Senior Policy Adviser in various water portfolios, as well as former Director of Water Strategies for the Queensland Water Commission.
Dr Anthony Boxshall, Chair of the Victorian Marine and Coastal Council
Dr Anthony Boxshall is a marine ecologist who has worked in Australia and the USA across Government, academia and the private industry. He is the Founder and Principal of Science into Action Pty Ltd, a science impact company turning great science into greater actions. A former National President of the Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA – the largest learned society for professional marine scientists in Australia), he has worked at UC Santa Cruz USA, Deakin University, and has been on several innovation boards.
A Melbourne Enterprise Fellow in the School of Biosciences at The University of Melbourne, he was until late 2017 the Director, Applied Sciences at the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria.
Dr Rohan Henry, Independent Traditional Owner and Aboriginal Water Expert
Dr Rohan Henry is a Gunditjmara man and currently works as a Manager of Land & Waters at Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation. He has over 15 years of experience in public and private consulting, environmental science, and experience in significant public and private capital projects.
Dr Henry is involved as an advisory member for a number of organisations, including Board Member for Water for Victoria, Water for Country – Project Control Group, Member of the Point Nepean National Park Management Advisory Committee, Member of the Rock Lobster Fisher Resource Assessment Group, and Council Member for the Victorian Catchment Management Council.
Dr Kaye Rodden, Non-Executive Director of Landcare Victoria Inc.
Dr Kaye Rodden grew up on a farm in the Yarra Valley and now farms sheep with her husband on a property west of Geelong on the Barwon River. She has been involved in Landcare and natural resource management for over 30 years. Dr Rodden is a founding member of Barrabool Hills Landcare Group and is its current President. She has also spent nine years as a Board Member of the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, retiring in 2009.
Dr Rodden was appointed to represent Corangamite on the Victorian Landcare Council in 2010, and served as its Executive Secretary for five years. She has been a Deputy Chair of Landcare Victoria Inc. since 2017, and is one of three Victorian delegates on the National Landcare Network’s Members Council. Dr Rodden was awarded a doctorate for her research into trace element nutrition of sheep and holds an Honours Degree in Agricultural Science, a Diploma of Education, and a Master Tree Grower Certificate.
Ms Amelia Young, Victorian Campaigns Manager for Wilderness Society Australia
Ms Amelia Young is a social and environmental justice campaigner with high levels of experience in campaigns to protect Victoria’s native forests from logging and wood chipping. Ms Young has also worked to restore environmental flows to Victoria’s stressed rivers, including the Murray River.
Amelia has experience in strategic campaign planning, development and implementation, as well as policy analysis and research. She is proficient in writing and delivering presentations to a vast range of audiences, including major donors, political figures and community. Amelia is interested in and committed to developing winning campaigns that deliver better outcomes for people and places. She developed the Great Forest National Park, Emerald Link and Ethical Paper campaigns.
Mr Matthew Ruchel, Executive Director of Victorian National Parks Association
Mr Matthew Ruchel has been the Executive Director of Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) since 2007, and has a strong background in environmental policy.
Mr Ruchel has worked in the non-government environmental policy areas at state, national and international level for more than 30 years, including roles with the Australian Conservation Foundation, Hume City Council and Greenpeace. Mr Ruchel has held senior positions in leading international and national conservation organisations and in local government.
Mr Jonathan La Nauze, Chief Executive Officer of Environment Victoria
Mr Jonathan La Nauze was appointed as Chief Executive Officer in January 2019. He has over 18 years of experience in the environment movement and is a respected leader with a track record of securing big wins for our environment and building a stronger movement. Jonathan is also an Executive Director of the Climate Action Network Australia.
Jonathan spent 11 years at Friends of the Earth where he led the River Red Gum Campaign and negotiated alliances between environment groups and Traditional Owners. He also led highly successful campaigns for the Australian Conservation Foundation for five years as Healthy Ecosystems Program Manager including the creation of the historic Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
Ms Claire Dunn, Policy Manager Environment and Regulatory Services for Municipal Association of Victoria
Ms Claire Dunn is a highly skilled public policy professional with a proven track record of achieving desired outcomes through negotiation and advocacy.
Ms Dunn has developed strong policy expertise from a variety of roles in federal government, both in Australia and internationally, as well as industry experience. Ms Dunn holds a Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Public Policy and Management from The University of Melbourne, and also completed the Melbourne Business School’s New Leaders Development Program.
Mr Stephen Sheridan, Chief Executive Officer of Victorian Farmers Federation
Mr Stephen Sheridan was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) in January 2018. Mr Sheridan has a unique combination of skills and attributes including extensive commercial expertise and experience developed in various senior management roles in a large corporate agribusiness, several years with the VFF in a management role, and his own personal experience and understanding of the sector, being raised on a mixed cropping, livestock and irrigation property.
Mr Sheridan previous roles include Director of the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show, Grains Group Manager for VFF, as well as a number of regulatory and commercial management roles within industry at AWB International.
Mr Chris Chesterfield, Independent Water Sector Expert
Mr Chris Chesterfield is nationally recognised for his leadership in waterway and urban water management, and for his contribution to establishing Melbourne as a world leader in water sensitive urban design. Previous roles include General Manager of the Waterways Group at Melbourne Water, where Mr Chesterfield was instrumental in building and leading the Waterways Group business, providing waterway management and developer services to a region of five million people.
Mr Chesterfield has chaired a number of Ministerial advisory committees related to urban and water planning that have led to significant planning and legislative reforms, and was recently appointed by the Minister for Water to chair the Birrarung Council, which brings together Traditional Owners and community to act as the ‘voice’ for the Yarra River. Mr Chesterfield continues to be the Commissioner and Chair person of the Victorian Environmental Water Holder, an independent statutory body responsible for holding and managing the State’s environmental water entitlements.
Ms Sharyon Peart, Chair of Vic Catchments
Ms Sharyon Peart moved from Melbourne to the Mallee in 2005, where she lived on a large property in Nangiloc. Ms Peart’s background in corporate business, sales, marketing and team management gave inspiration to the small business she currently owns and operates. Ms Peart has been the sole director since she created the company in 2005, specialising in retail consultation, and managing women’s health and wellbeing. Ms Peart served on the Mildura Rural City Council as a Councillor for nine years and gained much experience as a portfolio councillor for art and education, later community services and wellbeing, and governance and finance.
Ms Peart is committed to strengthening partnerships between community and government in the sustainable management of resources across our region. Ms Peart is a member of the La Trobe University’s Mildura Regional Advisory Board; a Director of Lower Murray Water; and a member of the Victorian Agricultural Advisory Council.
Mr Don Matthews, Commissioner for Local Jobs First at Victorian Government
Mr Don Matthews is the Local Jobs First Commissioner for Victoria. Mr Matthews is currently the Chair of various Boards and has held several senior roles in industry, including Chief Operating Officer at Amcor Australasia, President SCA Hygiene Australasia and most recently Executive Director of the Industry Capability Network Victoria, whose role was to facilitate opportunities for local businesses to work on major projects. Mr Matthews is committed to supporting local businesses, workers, apprentices and cadets – ensuring they benefit from Victorian Government Procurement.
The Commissioner advocates on behalf of Victorian small and medium enterprises, as well as promoting the employment of apprentices, trainees and cadets on government projects. He will also oversee compliance of local content and job commitments entered into as part of the contractual arrangements for project delivery.
Dr Angie Bone, Deputy Chief Health Officer (Environment) for the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services
Dr Angie Bone provides expert clinical and scientific advice and leadership on environmental public health issues. She supports the Chief Health Officer and staff within the Health Protection Branch.
Dr Bone has extensive experience and clinical expertise in public health. Dr Bone is a medical doctor with experience in health protection related to environmental hazards and infectious diseases in the UK and a number of other countries. Dr Bone has a keen interest in the social and environmental determinants of health, particular climate change extreme weather events, housing and urban planning, and infectious diseases.
Ms Kathryn Arndt – Chief Executive Officer, Victorian Local Governance Association
With over twenty years of diverse leadership experience including as a CEO, senior executive and a non-executive director across a number of sectors, Ms Kathryn Arndt has an understanding of high standards of governance, accountability and performance whilst managing strategic risks and delivering outcomes within budget constraints.
Ms Arndt is the CEO of the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA). The VLGA is a high profile independent (NGO) governance organisation supporting councils and councillors in effective local governance. As a peak body, the VLGA supports the local government sector through leadership, advocacy and professional development.
Ms Arndt currently sits on the boards of Diabetes Victoria and is Company Secretary of the Royal Melbourne Tennis Club. Ms Arndt was a Member of the inaugural Victorian Ministerial Council on Women's Equality which concluded its term in mid-2020. In her capacity as CEO of the VLGA, Ms Arndt is a member of the Local Government Victorian Project Control Board overseeing the implementation of the Local Government Act 2020, the state government’s COVID-19 Local Government Roundtable, the COVID Response CEO Stakeholder Group, and Minister for Local Government and the Minister for Women Women’s Roundtable for Local Government.
Ms Arndt has a track record in leading teams and delivering success working at a senior and high profile level in the Victorian local government sector; with a demonstrable ability to quickly grasp the issues facing a sector with multiple stakeholders and the legislated responsibility to provide oversight and governance to, and the delivery of, critical services on behalf of state.
Ms Janine Haddow – Chair, Victorian Environmental Assessment Council
Ms Janine Haddow is a strategic planning and stakeholder engagement consultant, and she has extensive policy, planning and operational experience in the environment and natural resource management sectors including public land and park management, catchment and coastal management, forestry and biodiversity conservation.
She is currently a Director of the inaugural Gunaikurnai Traditional Owners Land Management Board. Ms Haddow was previously a Director of the Mt Buller Alpine Resort Board, North Central Catchment Management Authority and the Victorian Catchment Management Council.
Ms Haddow has qualifications in political science, education, landscape architecture and environmental planning, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Williamson Community Leadership program and the Australian New Zealand School of Government Senior Executive Program.