07 4032 1746 admin@cafnec.org.au
Our Governance

The Cairns and Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC) is a not-for-profit incorporated association under the Associations Incorporation Act 1981 (Queensland) operating in Queensland, Australia. The principal activities of CAFNEC are to safeguard Far North Queensland’s environment through advocacy and education. 

The organisation is governed by a Management Committee in line with the requirements of CAFNEC’s Rules of Incorporated Association. The Management Committee is appointed by CAFNEC members at the Annual General Meeting, and are members themselves. Management Committee Members serve for a minimum one-year term and do not receive remuneration for their role, but may receive out-of-pocket expenses. 

The Management Committee govern the organisation and retain ultimate authority over its management, delegating the day-to-day management to the Director. The Director’s responsibilities are guided by an annual plan, performance criteria and monitoring adopted by the Management Committee. The Management Committee conducts an annual performance review of the Director. 

CAFNEC maintains a public gift fund, the CAFNEC Gift Fund, which is a tax-deductible gift recipient registered by the Australian Taxation Office and subject to the regulatory oversight of the Commonwealth Register of Environmental Organisations and the Australian National Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. All donations received are used to support CAFNEC’s charitable objectives.

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.

2020 – 2025 Strategic Plan

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.

Johanna Karam |  Secretary

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 a recent role she had managing the Sea Turtle Foundation.

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.

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.

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 who loves cycling just as much as when he was a kid. Simon is always keen to talk about climate, energy and plants.

Sioux Campbell |  General Member

Sioux Campbell currently works as a Disaster Resilience Officer for Cairns Regional Council. In her own time she is on the board of the 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.

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 CAFNECDirk was an active member of Aquis Aware and is a keen singer in a number of Cairns choirs.