07 4032 1746 admin@cafnec.org.au

Management Committee

The management committee is responsible for the good governance, finance and strategic direction of the organisation. They work closely with staff and the CAFNEC community to ensure it meets its responsibilities as an organisation and to the community.

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President – Denis Walls

Denis has been a member of CAFNEC for over 20 years and has extensive political, social and environmental campaigning experience. He was a broadcaster and newspaper columnist for 10 years. He has worked as a sociology and environmental studies lecturer and Indigenous education program manager. Since the early 1990s he has fought to protect Trinity Inlet from inappropriate development and publicly represents the Cairns Wetlands Park Committee which seeks to preserve and promote the area for research, education and eco-tourism purposes. He is currently spokesperson for the Aquis Aware Coalition of Concerned Citizens.

Secretary – Johanna Karam

Johanna grew up in Victoria and studied zoology/marine biology in Townsville, then post graduate studies in Tropical Environmental Management in  Darwin. She began her environmental career working with Conservation Volunteers Australia in the late 1990s and then worked in environmental education and international development in eastern Indonesia and Timor Leste. Much of Jo’s working life has centred on the interactions between communities and the environment in the non-government and tertiary education sectors. Returning to Australia’s north, she worked for Cape York Natural Resource Management, supporting Indigenous Rangers to monitor and protect sea turtles on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula. Her passion to conserve turtles and the broader marine environment in the Indo-Pacific region continued in her role managing the Sea Turtle Foundation.


Treasurer – Roger Atkins

Roger has a Master’s Degree in Business and Technology and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. His history includes software development, process improvement and financial management. Good governance and transparency are his watchwords. He believes that proper stewardship of the organisation’s finances and assets enables its members to focus their energy on doing the real work of the organisation – protecting the environment. Climate destabilisation worries him, countering ignorance energizes him, and working with committed people gives him hope. He makes submissions, signs petitions, occasionally marches, and is a regular volunteer at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.

Dirk Werner-Lutrop – General Member

Dirk, an economist by trade, has worked for large NGOs in South America and Papua New Guinea supporting social and economic development and justice. Following a passion for scuba diving, Dirk and his wife, Claudia, settled in Cairns in 1994 establishing a flourishing dive tourism business. Through that business Dirk was able to witness first-hand the deterioration of the Great Barrier Reef. He is keen to face the challenges posed to the GBR and reef systems globally through involvement with CAFNEC. Dirk was an active member of Aquis Aware and is a keen singer in a number of Cairns choirs.


Simon Thompson – General Member

Simon is a scientist with a background in Botany, Zoology and climate. With two young children he is driven to reduce carbon pollution and defend the environment. Simon has opened two homes for the Sustainable House Day displaying climate smart gardens, efficiency, time of use management and renewable energy. He is a keen cyclist that loves cycling just as much as when he was a kid. Simon is always keen to talk about climate, energy and plants.

Josh Coates – General Member

Josh is a former CAFNEC Director and has a broad range of conservation experience, including working for a number of Australian environmental not-for-profit organisations. He is a marine biologist with a passion for the marine environment and enjoys snorkelling, boating and diving. An experienced environmental campaigner, Josh has worked on high profile campaigns to protect the Kimberley from onshore gas development, marine parks campaigns in SA and elsewhere, and the Trinity Inlet dredging campaign, to name a few. Josh currently works with the Australian Marine Conservation Society as their fisheries and sustainable seafood campaigner.


Sioux Campbell – General Member

Sioux Campbell currently works as disaster resilience officer forCairns Regional Council. In her own time she is on the board of they Tangaroa Blue Foundation and Cairns Community Radio. Sioux has a long history of involvement in environmental management through past employment with  New Zealand’s Department of Conservation, her own environmental PR consultancy and voluntary positions with marine conservation organisations. As a crisis manager and community engagement specialist, she is a Fellow of the PR Institute of NZ, a life member of the NZ Association for Environmental Education and an FNQ Ambassador for the International Association of Public Participation.