The Australian Committee of IUCN is run by the Director. The Director is supported by the ACIUCN Executive Committee, which is made up of four elected members - two government members and two non-government members.
In addition, if there is an IUCN Councillor resident in Australia, they serve on the Committee, and a Treasurer may also be seconded.
ACIUCN works closely with other members of the IUCN constituency including local Commission experts, the IUCN Oceania Regional Secretariat based in Fiji and other Regional and National Committees.
The 2019-20 Executive Committee (from left): Peter Cochrane (IUCN Regional Councillor), James Trezise (Australian Conservation Foundation), Blathnaid Byrne (Treasurer), Emma Campbell (Chair) (Department of Environment and Energy), Tandi Spencer-Smith (former ACIUCN Director), Jo Hopkins (Parks Victoria) and Dr Rosalie Chapple (absent).
Dr Madelon Willemsen
Director, Australian Committee for IUCN
Madelon has been working to deliver biodiversity conservation outcomes in different countries (e.g. the Netherlands, Australia, Vietnam, the UK) holding senior manager and executive positions since 1998. She has a PhD in the ‘Wicked Problem of Biodiversity Conservation’ from the University of Sydney.
Throughout her career, Madelon has demonstrated her ability as a facilitator, mediator and negotiator bringing together conservation organisations, institutions, governments and other non-conventional partners, across cultures and transcending disciplines, to collaborate towards a common vision and generate outcomes for a just world that values and conserves nature.
Madelon also has sound working knowledge of the IUCN global network and was a member of the National UK Committee for IUCN. She also has been a long-time member of the IUCN SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group.
Government House Representatives
Cassandra Kennedy (Chair)
First Assistant Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
Cassandra Kennedy is a longstanding senior Australian Public Servant taking on the role as the
First Assistant Secretary of the Biodiversity Conservation Division (BCD).
Ms Kennedy joined the Australian Public Service – with the then Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry – in 2004, after completing degrees in science and law from the Australian National University. During her career she has worked across a number of leadership roles, including drought and regional finance policy, sustainable agriculture as well as fisheries, forestry and agricultural policy.
Cassandra has represented Australia in international negotiations, including Regional Fisheries Management Organisation meetings and chaired Whole of Government Committees.
Manager National and International Engagement
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.
Non-government Organisation Representatives
Policy Analyst, Australian Conservation Foundation
James is a Policy Analyst at the Australian Conservation Foundation based in Canberra. He has been working in environmental policy for over a decade, with a focus on national biodiversity conservation law, policy and reform.
James’s work predominantly focuses on developing and evaluating solutions to some of the major challenges facing Australia’s environment – and the technical and social conditions we need to get there. It also involves navigating the spaces between science, politics and policy that arise in modern democracies.
In addition to his work with ACF, James is a member of Birdlife Australia’s Research and Conservation Committee and sits on the National Coordination Group for Key Biodiversity Areas in Australia. He has previously held environmental policy, program and regulatory roles in the Australian Public Service and represented the Commonwealth on the Australian Alps National Parks NRM Reference Group.
James holds tertiary qualifications in business and environmental management, is a keen skier and bushwalker and an often-tired dad of two lively young girls.
Dr Rosalie Chapple
Independent Director, Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute
Rosalie has studied and worked in conservation for 30 years, with a key interest in wildlife and protected areas, and integrating knowledge into policy and management. Rosalie teaches in the Master of Environmental Management program at the University of NSW Sydney, and is developing the education and training program of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute, which she co-founded in 2004. Rosalie is also working closely with the Protected Areas Learning and Research Collaboration and currently works part-time on environmental policy development with the NSW government.
Rosalie is committed to:
Education and capacity building in conservation that moves beyond today’s dominant paradigms as they are conventionally understood and practiced
Building personal, societal and ecosystem resilience in the face of rapid and dramatic change
Valuing nature-based experiential learning and different ways of knowing
Integrating a wide range of knowledge into environmental policy and management for sound and innovative policy and decisions
Other Executive Members
IUCN Regional Councillor
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).
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.