The Commissioner's Reference Group was established in April 2015 with the approval of the Minister under 9(2)(b) of the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability Act 2003 (CES Act).
The purpose of the group is to provide advice to the Commissioner that reflects the current strategic direction and deliverables within the CES Act.
The Reference Group is comprised of non-government members, identified and invited by the Commissioner, with a range of interests and expertise that support the work of the Commissioner. Members represent a broad range of interests including environmental and industry associations and/or representatives, traditional owner and community, local government, energy and primary industries.
Our valued members
Ms Kathryn Arndt
Chief Executive Officer, Victorian Local Governance Association
Ms Arndt is a senior executive and a non-executive director across a number of sectors, and 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), a high profile independent governance organisation supporting councils and councillors through leadership, advocacy and professional development. In her capacity as CEO, 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 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.
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, particularly climate change extreme weather events, housing and urban planning, and infectious diseases.
Dr Anthony Boxshall
Chair of the Victorian Marine and Coastal Council
Dr 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.
Mr Chris Chesterfield
Independent Water Sector Expert
Mr 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. He continues to be the Commissioner and Chairperson of the Victorian Environmental Water Holder.
Ms Claire Dunn
Policy Manager Environment and Regulatory Services for Municipal Association of Victoria
Ms 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 the 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.
Dr Rohan Henry
Independent Traditional Owner and Aboriginal Water Expert
Dr 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.
Mr Jonathan La Nauze
Chief Executive Officer of Environment Victoria
Mr La Nauze was appointed as Chief Executive Officer in January 2019. He has 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 Jane Lovell
Chief Executive Officer of Victorian Farmers Federation
Ms Lovell grew up in country Victoria in Maryborough after originally moving from England at an early age. She’s always had a link to the country and agriculture and has a significant working background in agriculture chemicals, horticulture, sustainable grazing, commodity exports, federal politics ag portfolio and most recently the seafood industry as CEO at Seafood Industry Australia.
Ms Lovell began as the Victorian Farmers Federation Chief Executive Officer in February 2021.
Ms Victoria Marles
Chief Executive Officer of Trust for Nature
Ms 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.
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.
Ms Sharyon Peart
Deputy Chair of Vic Catchments
Ms 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 Matthew Ruchel
Executive Director of Victorian National Parks Association
Mr Ruchel has been the Executive Director of Victorian National Parks Association 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.
Ms Mellissa Wood
Chairperson of the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council
Mellissa Wood was appointed VEAC Chairperson in July 2021. Ms Wood has 30 years’ experience in leading and providing scientific and strategic advice on food, land and water systems, sustainable development, resource and environmental management, agency and board governance and public policy. She has held senior leadership positions with the Australian Government and internationally, including UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and CGIAR. She recently moved to Victoria after retiring as General Manager, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and member of CGIAR’s System Council and System Management Board and as Chair of Asia Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutes.
Ms Wood is a Visiting Scientist CSIRO, Food Systems and Global Change, Expert Evaluator for the international AGFUND, Independent Advisor, University of Queensland and a member of international and domestic steering committees.
Mellissa Wood holds a Master of Public Policy (Development Policy) from Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, and a Bachelor of Science (Resource and Environmental Management) from the Australian National University.
Ms Amelia Young
National Campaigns Manager for Wilderness Society Australia
Ms 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.
Ms Young 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. She 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.
Members are reappointed annually by the Commissioner under the Commissioner's Reference Group Terms of Reference, download below.