Textbox Section

The 2018-19 Executive Committee

The Executive is made up of four elected representatives from within the ACIUCN membership - two from government and two from non government members. In addition, the regional IUCN Councillor resident in Australia serves on the committee and a Treasurer may be seconded. The Executive is responsible for carrying out the administrative affairs of the Committee and attending to matters between meetings. The Chair is elected from the Executive and the role alternates every two years between government and non-government members.

The 2019 Executive Committee (from left): Fiona Fraser standing in for Tia Stevens (Department of the Environment and Energy), Blathnaid Byrne (seconded Treasurer), Peter Cochrane (IUCN Regional Councillor), Darren Grover (WWF Australia), Jo Hopkins (Parks Victoria) and Ricky Archer (NAILSMA). With ACIUCN Director, Katherine Zischka and IUCN Regional Director, Mason Smith.


Textbox Section

Darren Grover (Chair)

Head of Living Ecosystems, WWF-Australia

As Head of Living Ecosystems, Darren leads the Species, Oceans, Science and Impact teams at WWF-Australia. His geographically dispersed team delivers projects that seek to improve the conservation status of species like the black-flanked rock-wallaby and Carnaby’s black cockatoo in southwest Australia, the bilby and Gouldian finch in the Kimberley, southern right whales in the Great Australian Bight, and marine turtles on the Great Barrier Reef.

WWF-Australia projects are delivered through partnerships with universities, government agencies, other environmental organisations, community groups, and by empowering Indigenous communities and ranger groups to play an active and effective role in threatened species and marine conservation.

Darren also leads WWF-Australia’s contributions to species and marine conservation in the Asia-Pacific region, most notably for species such as the tiger, and the snow leopard and in places such as Solomon Islands and Borneo.

He is an ecologist by trade and has studied at the Queensland University of Technology and James Cook University. Darren has over 20 years' experience in species conservation, environmental impact assessment, Indigenous education and land management, and the development of environmental and water policies.

Darren is most at home in the bush and is an avid birdwatcher and bushwalker.

Ricky Archer

Chief Executive Officer, North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd (NAILSMA)

Ricky Archer is a Djungan man from the Western Tablelands region of North Qld.

Ricky has a strong network of on ground land and sea managers across northern Australia from which to draw from and has demonstrated an ability to connect on-ground work of Indigenous organisations with regional, state and commonwealth priorities.

He has been actively involved and engaged on the Indigenous Advisory Committee since 2014 and has built good relationships with current members on the Committee. The Indigenous Advisory Committee (IAC) is an expert group who provide advice to the Minister for the Environment on the operation of the EPBC Act, taking into account the significance of Indigenous peoples' knowledge of the management of land and the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

He was also a member of the National Landcare Advisory Committee which provided further connections to the work of the Indigenous Advisory Committee.

Mr Archer has a background in geographical information systems, Indigenous knowledge management, and natural & cultural resource management.



Textbox Section

Tia Stevens

Assistant Secretary, Biodiversity and Water Science Branch, Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy

After completing her biological science degree Tia has enjoyed a range of national and international policy, program, central budget and administrative coordination roles over her 18 years’ experience working across the Commonwealth Agriculture and Environment portfolios.

Since joining the Commonwealth Environment Department back in 2006 Tia has been integral in delivering high profile government initiatives. Some highlights include reforming the Departments approach to fishery assessments under the EPBC Act, supporting the establishment of Australia’s first Business and Biodiversity Initiative under the Global Partnership for Business and Biodiversity, leading the cross government review of Australia’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy, leading Australia’s engagement with the United Nations Convention of Biological Diversity including holding a two year term on the Conventions Bureau, and more recently leading delivery of the government’s reformed procurement of regional NRM under phase two of the National Landcare Program.

Jo Hopkins

Manager National and International Engagement, Parks Victoria

Jo Hopkins is the Manager National and International Engagement at Parks Victoria and has extensive experience in park management. She is responsible for the consolidation of high level partnerships that deliver on Government policy and facilitates initiatives with mutually beneficial outcomes between partners. As a result of this work, Jo has a strong network of industry contacts at local, national and international levels.

Jo has a combination of substantial professional experience with a deep commitment to the vital role that parks and protected areas play in ensuring a healthy natural world.

Jo is the Chair of the IUCN/WCPA Health and Well-being Specialist Group, Chair of Health Sciences Advisory Board for Deakin University, Co-Chair of the World Urban Parks Advocacy Committee and holds a B.A. in Recreation with Distinction from RMIT University. With experience in establishing two start-up not-for-profit organisations, Jo has a proven track record with ensuring good governance, developing policy and proactive communications with a membership base.

Jo is a keen swimmer and enjoys spending time in nature, particularly in many of NSW and Victoria’s spectacular coastal parks.



Textbox Section

Peter Cochrane

Peter has over twenty years experience in senior executive leadership and governance roles in the public and private sectors. He was elected in September 2016 to the IUCN Council to serve a four year term, nominated from Oceania. Peter is a member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and was a member of its Executive and Steering Committees (2014-2016).

He consults on environment and sustainability issues, and is currently an adviser to the national State of Environment Report 2016 focused on building its audience and utility, and its potential form post 2016.

He chairs the Steering Committee of the National Environmental Science Program’s Marine Biodiversity Hub and its Research Users Committee. He is a Director of Ecotourism Australia, TangaroaBlue Foundation, and chairs the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute. He sits on the Steering Group of the Protected Area Learning and Research Collaboration. Peter is an Adjunct Fellow at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University. He is an associate with two consulting companies: Futureye and Empowering Engagements.

Peter was Director of National Parks and head of Parks Australia from 1999-2013. He was Deputy Executive Director of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (1994-1999) and an adviser to two federal Ministers for Primary Industries and Energy (1990-94). He worked in the Australian National University Research School of Biological Sciences as a technical officer and departmental manager in plant ecology and physiology (1974-1990).

He has a BSc (ANU) and a Masters Public Policy (ANU).


Textbox Section

Bláthnaid Byrne

Bláthnaid is currently the Group Treasurer of AGL Energy, based in Sydney, Australia where she is responsible for funding, risk and liquidity management. With her career starting in Dublin, she spent over 15 years working in treasury roles across various industries including healthcare, travel and recruitment. 

Bláthnaid holds the AMCT Diploma in Treasury from the Association of Corporate Treasurers, the Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants as well as a BA Degree in International Business & Languages (French & German) from Dublin City University.

Currently Bláthnaid is a member of the Finance and Treasury Association’s State Committee, with specific responsibility for Women in Treasury. At AGL, Blathnaid is a member of several committees including Superannuation, Health Safety Environment Wellbeing, Innovation and Transition Steering Committee, as well as the Corporate Citizenship Program, which manages AGL’s employee giving, volunteering and fundraising events including strategic partnerships with community organisations. Bláthnaid is a governor at WWF Australia.