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Our Board

Trust for Nature’s Board of Trustees bring a wealth of expertise to the strategic direction of our organisation, from business and scientific strategy to communications and marketing.

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Geoff Driver

Acting Chairman

BEc, Grad Dip Finance

Geoff has been involved in the banking and funds management industry for more than 30 years. He is currently General Manager Business Development and Investor Relations for ASX listed Australian Foundation Investment Company (AFIC) and for other listed investment companies - Djerriwarrh Investments, Mirrabooka Investments and AMCIL Limited. He is a Director of AISC, the company that services these investment companies. Prior to joining AFIC, Geoff was with National Australia Bank in various executive roles and spent three years in the UK. His experience covers strategy development and planning; capital management; new business implementation; and distribution and marketing. Geoff is a strong believer in the advantages of community based participation in the conservation of Australia’s natural environment. His family has a property in the Victorian high country that is benefiting from such an approach.

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Amanda Noble

Acting Deputy Chair

MBA, BA, Dip Law (SAB), Dip Leadership & Asian Studies

Amanda's experience extends across risk management, investment management, strategy and operational areas including new business integration. She has worked in both the public and private sectors, predominantly in finance, with significant trust management experience. She has held executive and management positions at ANZ, Westpac and NAB. She is a Member of AICD, IAPP, is a Senior Associate of Finsia, and also graduated from the Chief Executive Women’s leadership program in 2013. 

Amanda has a particular interest in providing opportunities for individuals to contribute to solving global and local problems. Having attended an agricultural high school, she has long been passionate about sustainable land management balanced with active conservation of habitat and wildlife.

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Gayle Austen

Trustee

BA (Media & Communications), Adv Cert App Language (Mandarin), AICD Member

Gayle is a communications specialist with extensive experience in strategic communications and community engagement. She has held executive positions at ANZ, Channel Seven, the International CEO Forum and Foster’s Group. Her senior roles in journalism have been based in Australia, China and the UK, including The Economist Intelligence Unit and The Age. She is currently Principal of Gayle Austen Communications and President of Camcare. 

As a former journalist with specialties in environment and rural affairs, and from a farming family, Gayle has a particular interest in the way agribusiness can positively contribute to the conservation of the environment. She believes there are opportunities to energise and involve farmers in safeguarding our natural heritage for future generations.

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Cas Bennetto

Trustee

MA (Organisational Communication), NFP Leadership

Cas has extensive experience across corporate and professional services, not-for-profits, government, the arts and tertiary sectors. She has worked in executive management positions at the Australian British Chamber of Commerce, Charles Darwin University, Australia Council for the Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art and The Smith Family. She is CEO of the Kimberley Foundation Australia, an organisation dedicated to the research, protection and promotion of Kimberley rock art and culture. 

A passionate advocate for the protection of Victoria’s native plants and wildlife, she says: “The world is a better place if we retain and enhance biodiversity.” Cas believes Trust for Nature and its protection of nature through conservation covenants are an effective way to achieve those objectives in Victoria.

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Dr Charles Meredith

Trustee

BSc (Botany, Genetics), PhD (Zoology/Earth Sciences)

Charles is an ecologist and consultant with extensive experience in natural systems and conservation planning. After an early career in wildlife research, he founded Biosis Research, Australia’s largest ecological and heritage consulting firm. He was CEO there from 1984 until he retired in 2011. Charles is an inaugural Fellow of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand. He is Chair of the Melbourne Strategic Assessment Land Protection Advisory Group, a member of the Course Advisory Committee for Wildlife and Conservation Biology Degree at La Trobe University, and a Board member of the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council. 

He says: "Trust for Nature’s significant role in contributing to the conservation of privately held vegetation and habitat is critical to the long-term conservation of Victoria’s biodiversity."

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James Bentley

Trustee

(appointed August 2017)

BSc (Ecology), BCom (Economics)

Since 2015, James has been Manager, Natural Value at National Australia Bank where he leads the implementation of the bank’s commitment to embed the value of natural capital into business decisions. Previously he worked as an Environmental Markets Manager with The Water and Carbon Group to develop and market the business case for constructed wetland technology. He also has experience as an Environmental economist consultant working for an international management services consultancy in London.

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Sandra Brizga

Trustee

(appointed August 2017)

BA (Hons) (Geography, Psychology), Master of Environmental Law, Master of Applied Finance, PhD (Geomorphology)

Sandra has been an independent consultant in river, catchment and coastal management since 1995. She previously pursued a career in academia and has published a book on river management. Current and previous board and committee memberships include the Australian World Heritage Advisory Committee, Fraser Island World Heritage Area Scientific Advisory Committee, Central Coastal Board, Fisheries Co-management Council Inland Fishery Committee, Game Management Authority and Victorian Catchment Management Council. She is a Fellow of the Peter Cullen Trust, an Honorary Life Member of the River Basin Management Society and has been Vice-President of the Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group. 

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Katherine Cary

Trustee

(appointed August 2017)

BCom, BA, MBA, GAICD

Katherine has more than 15 years’ experience in strategy consulting and at Seek, Westpac and National Australia Bank. Her experience has been in the formulation and development of corporate and business strategy and financial planning and analysis. Katherine has given her professional services on a volunteer basis to the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre, to a charity for homeless women and to her local School Council.  

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Georgia Garrard

Trustee

(appointed August 2017)

PhD, BA (Hons)/BSc

Georgia is an ecologist and senior research fellow in RMIT's Interdisciplinary Conservation Science Research Group. Her research draws on the fields of conservation science, urban planning, decision science and conservation psychology to develop tools to understand, plan for and manage biodiversity in human-dominated landscapes. She currently works as part of the National Environmental Science Programme's Threatened Species Recovery Hub, investigating ways to increase community support for biodiversity conservation. Georgia is passionate about conserving Australia's biodiversity, and has a particular soft spot for Victoria's threatened native grasslands, which have been the focus of much of her research. She has previously served on the Technical Advisory Group for the implementation of Melbourne's Western Grassland Reserves. 

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Binda Gokhale

Trustee

(appointed August 2017)

MBA, BEc, Grad Dip (Applied Finance and Investments), GAICD

Binda is Chief Financial Officer with Wyndham City Council, having previously held senior finance, planning and treasury positions at Telstra. A certified public accountant, Binda has been an external member of Trust for Nature’s Audit and Risk Committee since 2008. She is also a member of the Board for Women with Disabilities Victoria and the Satellite Foundation.

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