REGIONAL CLIMATE ADAPTATION GROUPS
| Working together to adapt to the changing climate |
Regional Climate Adaptation Group
The Regional Climate Adaptation Group (RCAG) provides placed-based project guidance and advice to the Grampians Region Climate Adaptation Strategy (RCAS). Members include a range of stakeholders and community members, identified through an expression of interest process. The group is active and committed to the role of linking the RCAS and yearly delivery plans to the needs and aspirations of the community, business and key regional stakeholders.
The RCAG is split into two sub-groups – Wimmera RCAG and Central Highlands RCAG.
| Wimmera RCAG
LaVergne Lehmann (co Chair)
|La Vergne was until just recently the Executive Officer of the Grampians Central West Waste & Resource Recovery Group (GCWWRRG) based in Ballarat & Horsham. GCWWRRG works with 12 local government authorities in western Victoria on collaborative procurement, statutory planning, strategic planning, optimising service delivery, community engagement and education and industry engagement. At present the focus of the organisation’s activities are recycling, circular economy, waste to energy, e-waste, single use plastics and litter, just to name a few.|
La Vergne has a very broad background having worked as an accountant, journalist, agricultural college teacher, NRM and as tourism manager before discovering the waste and recycling sector in the Grampians region. She has lived in the Wimmera at Dimboola for almost 20 years after moving from Adelaide with her young family in 2000. She has now been in the EO role for 5 years, having previously held the roles of Procurement Manager, Engagement Manager and Waste Education Officer.
She currently serves on the boards of the Wimmera Health Care Group, traditional owner group; Barengi Gadjin Land Council and the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority.
David Drage (Co Chair)
Wakerley Farm Pty Ltd and Wimmera CMA
|I have been farming north east of Warracknabeal for over 30 years, running a mixed cropping and sheep enterprise. I have been following the politics of climate change, whilst living it for most of that time. In the late 2000’s I was on a committee at Grain Growers Association looking at carbon trading, and completed a Nuffield Scholarship in 2009 looking at threats and opportunities arising from carbon pollution reduction schemes. I was also a GRDC climate champion for the life of that program|
I am involved in many local community groups, specifically Rotary, VFF, CFA and our local Best Wool Best Lamb group. I also remain involved with the Nuffield Alumni. I have been a Wimmera CMA board member since 2013.
|I have worked in the region in climate adaptation and mitigation for the last 28 years. From 1994 through to 2013 I worked at Agriculture Victoria Horsham (or its namesakes), I first worked as an agricultural extension officer encouraging farmers to improve water use efficiency through improved management practices particular around tillage and nutrition. From 2003 through 2014 I worked on a range of project educating farmers and other stakeholders around seasonal climate risk and climate drivers and how to utilise seasonal climate forecasts and tools in decision making along climate adaptation and mitigation strategies. I was editor and a key contributor to the Break Newsletter. I also played a key role in the Wimmera Drought response through Millenium drought.|
From 2014 until 2019 I was CEO of BCG. I was involved in a number of climate adaptation and mitigations projects. I initiated BCG working with Walnut Energy in building a demonstration Microgrid at BCG supported by DELWP. I was Project leader for the Seasonal Climate Risk Project delivered through Agrifutures and the Forewarned is Forearmed national Project I led the Community of Practice component for BCG delivered through MLA. Just prior to leaving BCG I initiated and designed the Climate Change event BCG hosted In Oct 2019.
|Daryl Scherger has spent most of his working life managing the harvesting of native forests with the Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment and its predecessors. In 2005 he joined Ararat Rural City Council as a Natural Resources Officer where he developed a Roadside Management Plan, Sustainable Water Use Plan, emergency water supply sites, implemented councils’ Greenhouse Action Plan and investigated bioenergy as a way to utilise green and timber waste.|
In 2012 he joined Pyrenees Shire as the Project Manager for the Regional Bioenergy Project where he oversaw the installation of the Beaufort Hospital wood boiler and produced a report on heating the Horsham Aquatic Centre with timber waste. He is currently a bioenergy consultant for Pyrenees Shire working on implementing the installation of a straw pellet heating system at the Skipton Hospital.
Wimmera Mallee Sustainability Alliance (WMSA)
|Gil lives on 300+ acre covenanted bush adjacent to Grampians National Park at Laharum. Gil was a secondary science teacher and leader for 40 years and he is currently Acting EO of WMSA.|
Gil has an interest in climate adaptation and has been involved in environmental education since 1970s. He is committed to helping people understand and act to make a difference for the future. He has written and reviewed many plans/programs/projects and funding applications for many groups
Gil’s focus is on a future for family, friends the community and environment.
Membership on Boards and committees include - WCMA, WDA, GWMWater, WMSA, Grampians National Park Advisory Group, Laharum Landcare, Laharum Hall Committee, Laharum CFA, as well as many environment groups including Vic Malleefowl Recovery Group, Wimmera Growers of Native Plants
|I have been working in statewide and local waterway management for 15 years mostly in the areas of regional environmental water and strategic planning. Given the Wimmera has borne the brunt of reduced inflows due to climate change my interest is in adapting environmental water and broader waterway management practices and policies to best maintain the many values that this region’s waterways possess.|
Horsham Rural City Council
I am the current Coordinator Waste & Sustainability at HRCC. Responsible for the planning and ongoing management of two key facilities identified as being of regional importance in the Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Implementation Plan 2017, in support of the Statewide Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Plan.
I have a background in landfill and waste management, resource recovery, urban road infrastructure and project management. Developing skills in sustainability, and currently project managing the development of HRCC’s Sustainability Strategy.
Principal climate change focus has been mitigation orientated to this point, however the practical implementation of adaptation measures is of interest.
My networks primarily include resource recovery (established through other council officers via the Grampians Central West Waste & Resource Recovery Group).
Environmental Sustainability Officer,
|I'm currently working for GWMWater as an Environmental Sustainability Officer. The main components of my role are providing environmental advice on capital works projects, delivering sustainability training and awareness programs and managing waste and resource recovery across the organisation.|
|I grew up on a farm north of Horsham and started my career in Agriculture at Victorian Institute for Dryland Agriculture (Horsham). I then had a change in direction and completed my nursing degree and postgraduate in critical care and worked at Wimmera Health Care Group Emergency Department. I have also worked on telephone triage (Similar to Nurse on Call) and General Practice coordinator supporting clinical practice with Grampians Medicare Local. This organisation then became Western Victoria Primary Health Network where I was the Regional Manager for Wimmera Grampians implementing government initiatives in health care and commissioning place-based programs to improve health outcomes for this region. I am currently working with Wimmera Primary Care Partnership on the drought coordination response across four shires. This focuses on mental health including the Rural Outreach program, Mental health first aid and community activities to build resilience and reduce social isolation.|
Department of Health and Human Services
Simone has spent the past 20 years living in the Wimmera and experiencing the effects of our changing climate on the landscape and community.
She arrived at the start of the Millennium Drought and spent the next nine years working as a journalist and telling the stories of the agricultural community, including farmers and towns, as they lived through a very long drought. She then moved into Agriculture communications, documenting the work that scientists and farmers in the region were doing to adapt to the variable seasons. She worked at regional drought coordinator in the 2016 drought and then moved across to the Health and Human Services Department in 2017, where she is manager for Population Health and Community Wellbeing for Wimmera South West Area.
|I have a family farm 18km NW of Kaniva in the West Wimmera region of Victoria. The property is a mixed farm enterprise, producing a variety of crops and running both Merino sheep and Prime lambs.|
Since 1999, I have had an interest in the production of renewable fuels, and in 2003 was awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship to study Decentralised Energy production. I have established a small scale, oilseed crushing plant on farm, and incorporate the presscake and vegetable oil into the livestock operation.
Having experienced significant changes in weather patterns, I have changed the farm enterprise mix to 25% cropping and 75% livestock in an attempt to minimise the impact of climate change. There is now a focus on cover crops, re-establishment of perennial pastures and maintaining greater ground cover. I collect and use data and genetic information to breed and select higher profit ewes, allowing increased flexibility with stock numbers.
I have committed to a Soil Carbon project under the ERF and I am ultimately hoping to achieve a carbon neutral farming operation.
| Central Highlands RCAG
Peter Gell (co Chair)
|Dr Adam Miller is an ecological geneticist affiliated with the Centre for Integrative Ecology at Deakin University. He completed a PhD at Deakin University in 2006, worked as a post-doctoral research fellow at The University of Melbourne from 2008-2015, and returned to Deakin University as a senior lecturer in 2016. His research program focuses on the application of genetic tools for improving the management of threatened, commercially important, and pest species. He has a particularly keen interest in environmental stress and adaptation research, drawing on genetic and quantitative experimental methods to assess species evolutionary trajectories, vulnerabilities to environmental change, and management strategies that enhance biodiversity outcomes in changing environments. Dr Miller works on a variety of terrestrial, aquatic and alpine model systems and collaborates closely with industry and government agencies to tailor research programs with tangible outcomes. He currently leads several projects relating to the conservation and restoration of threatened plant communities, and is a scientific advisor to the state government on topics related to the genetic management and climate proofing of restoration plantings in south-eastern Australia.|
Farm Forest Growers Vic
|Andrew Lang is a farmer with a strong interest in agroforestry and bioenergy. He has been a secondary school science/maths teacher, developed and managed farm management courses for VCAH Glenormiston, and worked with DPI as a farm forestry extension officer. He is a Churchill Fellow and a Gottstein Fellow, and since 2008 has had various roles with the World Bioenergy Association. Andrew is the current president of the Victorian Bioenergy Network inc, and of Farm Forest Growers Victoria, both of can play important roles in mitigation of, and adaptation to, regional climate change.|
Bob Hartmann BSc. (App Chem.) Grad Dip Ed
Bob has worked in the secondary education sector for the past 40 years in a range positions including Science teacher, Assistant Principal, and VCE Chemistry specialist. Bob has taught in a variety of settings including state and private schools and 10 years in specialist science centre’s providing advanced Chemistry programs and professional learning for teachers.
Bob is currently President of Friends of Canadian Corridor (FOCC), a community advocacy group based on the eastern side of the City of Ballarat. FOCC has been instrumental in the establishment of Woowookarung Regional Park. Bob worked on the Woowookarung Park establishment committee to develop and implement the strategic plan for the park. FOCC is currently working on a number of projects including reinvigorating the City of Ballarat Koala Management Plan.
As the current Vice chair of the Yarrowee Leigh Catchment Group, Bob has developed a broad understanding of the role of Landcare in protecting and enhancing our native vegetation assets and waterways.
Golden Plains Shire Council
|As the Environment and Sustainability Team Leader at Golden Plains Shire Council, David Collins looks to protect and enhance the environment of his little patch of Victoria. With over 10 years’ experience working in the environmental sector across both Australia and New Zealand, he’s focused on finding people-orientated solutions to environmental challenges, both big and small.|
David has collected data, managed projects, developed reports (including the Yarra and Bay Report Card), provided expert advice and trained others throughout his career. He is at home both in the office and the field and has a knack for finding good coffee everywhere he goes.
You might find David in a meeting room, wading in a river, looking down a microscope, chatting to a citizen scientist or at his desk writing a grant application. No matter what job he’s doing, his goal is simple – to collaborate with others to find better ways of managing and enhancing the natural environment.
David holds a Bachelor of Science with Honours from the University of Melbourne.
|Dom Murphy is currently the Environmental Coordinator at Meredith Dairy. Prior to this he was the Sustainability Officer with Hepburn Shire Council, delivering a goal of Council carbon neutrality by 2021 and working with the Hepburn Shire community on a range of climate change mitigation activities, including to support community aspirations of zero net emissions by 2030, through the Z-NET project. As part of this local emissions reduction transition, there is also a need to consider and adapt to current and future climate change impacts.|
Prior to Council, he worked as a consulting Mechanical Engineer.
Pyrenees Shire Council
|Ed Riley is a planning officer with 13 years of experience in rural and regional areas across local and national government in the UK, the Isle of Man and, since 2018, Victoria. He believes climate change is a serious threat to our planet and is excited to help Central Highlands’ communities mitigate against the worst of its impacts. Ed holds an undergraduate degree in English & Geography, advanced degrees in Politics and Planning, and is an appointed member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Planning Institute of Australia. He is employed as the Strategic Planner at Pyrenees Shire Council, and in his spare time enjoys photography, coffee, and craft beer – often at the same time.|
Central Highland Water
|Jason McGregor is the Senior Planner Environment and Sustainability with Central Highlands Water. He developed CHW’s climate change mitigation strategy in 2017, which commits to a 20% reduction in emissions by 2025 on a pathway to net zero emissions by 2050. At present, he leads the development of CHW’s climate change adaptation plan.|
He has extensive water industry networks, including via the Australian Water Association, Victorian Water Industry Association and Water Services Association of Australia.
Jason has 30 years of experience in the water industry and has a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Regional Development.
Moorabool Shire Council
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Health and Human Services
Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance
|Rob Law is the Executive Officer of the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance. The CVGA began in 2000 and is a formal network of 13 local governments in central and north western Victoria working together on climate change projects, advocacy, and knowledge sharing.|
Over the past six years Rob has worked for the Victorian Greenhouse Alliances, and has an extensive background in developing and delivering regional climate change programs, advocacy and policy development. Rob has previously worked for the Environment Centre NT, the Tropical Savannas CRC, the Victorian Government, the University of Melbourne/Victorian Centre for Climate Change Adaptation Research (VCCCAR) and WWF. In 2011 Rob completed a Masters thesis on "Greenhouse gas management in northern Australian savannas: opportunities and risks for Indigenous land management" and holds a Bachelor of Science (University of Tasmania) and a Bachelor of Music (Victorian College of the Arts).
|Tamara is passionate about conveying the benefits a healthy environment brings to society, the economy and our own wellbeing. Her work focuses on the wise use, management and conservation of Victoria’s natural capital. Prior to establishing as an independent consultant, Tamara lead Parks Victoria’s statewide catchment and water program for ten years. She now works with a range of clients and audiences to deliver strategic plans, stakeholder engagement, research and communication products.|
Coalition for Community Energy
|Taryn is a part time manager of Australia’s first community owned cooperative wind farm, Hepburn Wind. This wind farm pioneered the energy movement in Australia and has been recognised with both national and global rewards, including the WWEA award for best global wind project 2012 awarded in Bonn Germany in 2012.|
Taryn is the project lead for a 3MW co-located solar farm for Hepburn Wind currently in development.
Taryn has worked for Embark Australia, a not-for-profit set up to kickstart the community energy sector in Australia and through this she has mentored other communities to build their own renewable energy projects.
Taryn runs small consulting practice Akin Consulting which undertakes research and community engagement for the renewables sector. She has authored numerous reports on renewable energy for state governments and ARENA. She also co-established and is current director of the Australian Wind Alliance and the Coalition for Community Energy.
Tony Rickards (co Chair, former member)
For the last 50 years I have personally experienced northward movement in the Scandinavian snowline and evolving conditions in remote Australia. I aim to bring professional knowledge in advanced research, technology, interpersonal behaviour, Futures Research and Scenario planning for strategic planning operations to assist in preparing clear and sustainable strategies for RCAG success.
My career expertise is in Academic Research, Operations Management in a large Cooperative Research Centre and a PhD in Human Dynamics.
I am currently retired and live in Ballarat and I volunteer for WA Parks and Wildlife.
|During the past four plus decades Barbara Curzon-Siggers has worked across medical, academic, government, community organisations/agencies and as a freelancer in: project management; policy development; community welfare, consultation and advocacy. She is a member of the Hepburn Z-net Project, actively working locally with her town's primary school, neighbourhood house, community groups and Hepburn Shire Council on sustainability transitions and renewable energy. She sits on three RCAG subgroups, focusing on the regional economy, health and wellbeing and behavioural change. community cohesion and communication and consultation.|
Subscribe to our mailing list
We acknowledge the First Nations Peoples of the land and waters that we live, care and work upon within the Grampians Region. We respect the continuous culture that has been embedded into history for thousands of years. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.