Role of the Management Committee
The Management Committee’s primary role is the good governance of CAFNEC, including the development and monitoring of long-term directions and goals and the strategies and policies needed to achieve these goals.
The Management Committee also appoints and manages the Director and ensures that the organisation complies with its contractual, statutory and legal obligations; remains financially viable and proactively manages risks. The Management Committee regularly engages with employees via strategy planning sessions, sub-committees, events and meetings. The Management Committee also invites staff to regularly present key information to the Management Committee, and the Committee Members are always available to provide support and advice or receive feedback.
To meet our governance requirements, Management Committee membership is diverse and includes key competencies such as environmental policy and strategy, finance, legal, fundraising, strategy, audit, risk, communications and engagement. The Management Committee regularly reviews the skills necessary to undertake its activities and undertakes a formal appraisal of its performance annually.
The Management Committee operates sub-committees to investigate various issues and make recommendations to the Management Committee. The Management Committee currently operates four sub-committees, with membership consisting primarily of Management Committee members with support from co-opted experts. The Management Committee does not abrogate its responsibilities to sub-committee members. Sub-committees currently in operation are HR, Campaigns and Finance.
Our Management Committee
Denis Walls | President
Denis has been a member of CAFNEC for 26 years and has extensive political, social and environmental campaigning experience. He was a broadcaster and newspaper columnist for 10 years and is the author of books on Rwanda and Malaysia (the latter with Stella Martin). He has worked as a sociology and environmental studies lecturer and Indigenous education program manager. Since the early 1990s Denis has led and been involved in numerous campaigns to protect our precious natural heritage. Denis has a passion for languages and enjoys focused travel, bird watching and a cappella singing. He continues to defy the years by playing veterans league soccer.
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 who loves cycling just as much as when he was a kid. Simon is always keen to talk about climate, energy and plants.
Dirk Werner-Lutrop | Secretary
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.
Roger Atkin | Treasurer
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.
Bess Murphy | General Member
Hailing from country NSW and trained as an Environmental Scientist/Biologist Bess is passionate about environmental advocacy, science, social change & sustainability.
She has over half a decade of environmental campaigning and outreach experience spanning Bathurst, Wollongong and Cairns, including most recently working at CAFNEC from 2015-2020.
When not at CAFNEC you can find Bess crafting sustainable timber jewellery in an off grid shed on the Tablelands, under the sea, or hiking in the rainforest nerding-out on botany. She now runs two eco-concious businesses with her partner and teams.
Claire Galvin | General Member
Claire is a university student and has co-organised a social movement in Cairns, empowering young people to take on leadership roles and fight for climate justice. She started her activism by organising a number of climate strikes in Cairns. Upon seeing that more young people were engaging in climate activism she decided, along with other climate strike organisers, to start an Australian Youth Climate Coalition group in Cairns. AYCC Cairns is actively campaigning in the community to achieve climate justice through a number of exciting campaigns. Claire has also won multiple national Eureka Prize awards for science communication.
Pia Harkness | General Member
Pia was born and raised in Townsville and was fortunate to spend much of her childhood on Magnetic Island where the seeds of her interest in tropical marine ecosystems were sown. She studied a Bachelor Environmental Management at Newcastle University and a Master of Tropical Environmental Management at Charles Darwin University. Pia went on to complete a PhD which examined marine conservation and community development policies and their implications for coastal communities and their livelihoods in remote eastern Indonesia.
Pia is now a Social Scientist working with Traditional Owners to bring together Indigenous knowledge and western science) for land and sea management with multiple benefits. After nearly a decade living in Darwin, Pia is excited to be getting back into diving in Cairns, and has recently taken up mountain biking.