REGIONAL CLIMATE ADAPTATION GROUPS
Hi, I’m Liam, the Environmental Planner for Moorabool Shire Council. I’ve always had an interest in urban areas and initially thought I would work in urban design, however, over the last few years I became more environmentally conscious and decided to pursue a career which blended the two – Environmental Planning. Starting in statutory planning for a coastal city in NSW I assessed development applications, I have now come to Victoria for this role to advocate for environmental protection and guide design solutions for improved environmental outcomes.
I am a lecturer/researcher at Deakin University, specialising in ecological and evolutionary genetics and environmental stress and adaptation research. I work closely with industry and government to help implement management strategies that enhance biodiversity outcomes under climate change.
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Karen Marsh is a Senior Project Officer in the Prevention and Population Health team in the West Region of the Department of Health. Karen has a passion for public health, and particularly how climate change both directly and indirectly impacts on human health. With a background in Food Science, Public Health and Agriculture, Karen brings a diverse knowledge base to the RCAG.
I’m a relative newcomer to the fields of environment and sustainability. Although I was raised in a farming family, it is only in recent years that I have become passionate about both biodiversity and improving agricultural practices in order to benefit both environmental and human health. My background is in Project Management, and I spent most of my adult life in and around the Defence Forces.
After moving back to the country eight years ago, I began to reconnect with my natural surroundings. Unfortunately, it was only then that I began to understand the impact that we as humans were having. This set of factors caused a significant career change for me!
I am currently the Facilitator for both the Buloke and Northern Grampians Landcare Network, and the Kara Kara Regenerative Agriculture Group. I live with my wife Debra, on a 40-acre property alongside the Kara Kara National Park where we manage a small herd of alpacas; as well as numerous marsupials as part of a captive breeding program.
My name is Stephanie Merlicek and I am the Environmental Sustainability Officer for GWMWater. The main components of my role are providing environmental advice on capital works projects, managing the environmental management system, delivering sustainability training and monitoring waste and resource recovery across the organisation.
Before working for GWMWater I was a secondary school teacher, teaching geography and biology to high school students.
Strategic Planning Officer
Wimmera Catchment Management Authority
I have been Wimmera and Horsham resident all my life and proud long-time advocate for the region, particularly through my 36-year role as a journalist and for the past 12 years editor of the ACE Radio publication The Weekly Advertiser. I had previously written for The Wimmera Mail-Times, having grown up in a family of journalists and won various state and national industry recognition.
I made the career change and joined Wimmera CMA this year to apply skills, knowledge, and understanding of the region and its people to fuel a personal passion to take what I know in a different direction.
I’ve always been keen to play a role in helping establish, promote and enhance healthy communities and environments across the region.
Medical Director Grampians Public Health Unit
Grampians Health Ballarat
Rosemary came to Ballarat more than three years ago to be BHS Chief Medical Officer.
Rosemary first studied and worked as a journalist in health promotion before switching careers, eventually qualifying as a public health physician with specialist qualifications in medical leadership and management, a Masters of Public Health and a PhD also. Anxious to ensure both equitable access to care and best health for the most vulnerable in our community, in 2019 Rosemary worked with numerous agencies across diverse sectors to establish Ballarat For Kids, a whole of city initiative to optimise child health and well-being.
Rosemary is now the Clinical Director Grampians Public Health Unit (GPHU).
I am extremely interested in planetary health and regeneration and building community resilience against climate change through community led initiatives in sustainability/regeneration. I am currently studying the Diploma of Sustainable Living with the University of Tasmania, units include global food security, sustainable design for houses and landscapes, backyard biodiversity, living with fire, health & wellbeing and sustainability.
Professionally, I have 20+ years’ experience with local government and 10 years of emergency management experience including managing flood recovery following the 2011 floods. I have also worked for the CFA.
On a personal note, I have a farming background and volunteered on many community groups such as football/netball clubs, landcare, arts & culture, so I have a good understanding of how community groups run. I also have lots of life experience!
I am grateful to be a community representative on RCAG, and look forward to working with this valuable group to continue to raise awareness and support communities to adapt to climate change.
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.
City of Ballarat
Ed Riley is a planning officer with over 15 years 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 Principal Strategic Planner at the City of Ballarat, and in his spare time enjoys photography, coffee, and craft beer – often at the same time.
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.
West Wimmera Health Service
I am the Health Promotion Manager for West Wimmera Health Service and have both professional and private interests in behaviour change and climate adaptation. A varied career in and out of academia and the not-for-profit sector has been centred around an abiding interest in how people understand and adapt to social and environmental influences and imperatives, including the linked and sometimes conflicting roles of lived experience and scientific knowledge.
I had a small livestock property at Noradjuha in the Wimmera from 1998 to 2012 and managed that property through the Millennium Drought, the following floods, Black Saturday and a year of locust plagues. As I prepare my own home and food gardens for a warming environment, I also work with the communities I serve professionally to ensure that climate adaptation is central to planning for health and wellbeing at individual, community and policy levels.
Agronomy and Agribusiness, Longerenong College
Hamish has a family background in Agribusiness in the Western District of Victoria. This interest expanded into the Wimmera and Agronomy Services in Kaniva.
Hamish has an Adv Dip Agriculture and a Dip Agronomy from Longerenong College and a Grad Dip Strategic Business Mgmt. from Federation University. He holds industry accreditations with AgSafe, AusChem and FertCare.
After a decade of servicing Wimmera farmers Hamish joined corporate crop protection organisations on the East and West Coast of Australia. He had various technical, marketing and business management roles with Seed Grain & Biotechnology, PlantTech and CropCare (Nufarm). He managed the National Clearfield Production Systems portfolio and was involved in the early business development stages of Nuseed. More recently he was involved in sales and product development in Australia for global fertiliser company, Wengfu Group – China. He is now teaching at Longerenong College lecturing in Agronomy, Climate Risk Mgmt. and Agribusiness.
Hamish has a strong community connection in the Wimmera Region having been Past President of Horsham United Football Club, Chair SS Michael and John’s Primary School and contributions to various recreational committees. He has also contributed to many community strategies through his past management responsibility with WorkCo, now Skillinvest. He describes himself as having an addiction to anything outdoors and will be seen regularly along the Wimmera River or throughout the Grampians, either mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, swimming, water-skiing or fly fishing.
Wimmera Primary Care Partnership (Project Officer)
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 post graduate 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 Families, Fairness and Housing
Executive Director, Wimmera Development Assocation
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 Millennium 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.
Since joining WDA I have become an active member of GNET and I am leading region-wide project bid on Microgrid planning. I have been involved in the ClimateWorks Natural Capital Summit/Roadmap and the Aust Farm Institute Natural Capital event in Canberra. I am a member of the SOILSCRC Research and Advisory project assessment group. I am a board member of Regional Leadership Australia and also Wimmera Southern Mallee Local Learning and Employment Network
La Vergne Lehmann
Yarriambiack Shire Council
La Vergne is currently Manager Waste & Sustainability Leadership & Change at Yarriambiack Shire Council. Prior to this she was Economic Development Manager at the Barenji Gadjin Land Council (BGLC) and before this she was the Executive Officer of the Grampians Central West Waste & Resource Recovery Group (GCWWRRG) based in Ballarat & Horsham.
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 currently serves on the boards of the Wimmera Health Care Group, traditional owner group BGLC and the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority.
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.
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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.