Meet the newest Independent Directors to join the Board of Landcare NSW

Following an extensive and thorough recruitment process driven by the Landcare NSW Nominations Committee, Landcare NSW would like to introduce the two newest Independent Board Directors who will be confirmed by the members present at the Landcare NSW Annual General Meeting to be held on 19th October, 2022.

The new Landcare NSW Board will be composed of six Ordinary Directors to bring the perspectives of the Members living within the Ordinary Director’s respective Board Electoral Zone; and up to four Independent Directors appointed to bring any additional skills, expertise, and experience that the Board requires.

Both our new Independent Directors bring a wealth of skills. Please read below to get to know Liz Riley and Rene Woods, our first Aboriginal Independent Director who will fill the director position reserved for an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person.

Elizabeth Riley – Independent Director

Why are you seeking to serve Landcare NSW Limited as a director?

I seek to serve as a director of Landcare NSW to help support it’s mission (leadership, skills and resources) to empower land carer’s to care for the environment, land and communities in NSW, and to serve my community. I have skills and experience which would support Landcare NSW in its mission and strategic goals. The ethos and intent of Landcare resonate strongly with me as someone directly involved with primary production. As a steward and carer of land, joining the board of Landcare NSW is a demonstration of my commitment to this movement. It also provides me with a mechanism to utilise the skills and experience I have for the greater good.

What do you hope to contribute to the Board of Landcare NSW Limited?

As someone who works day to day with viticultural landowners and managers across NSW, I bring firsthand knowledge of the challenges, risks and opportunities that stewards of the land have. I understand their passion and desire to improve and remediate that land, and to ensure it is left better for our stewardship. I also understand the challenges they face in achieving this in times of climatic extremes and adverse conditions, which often stymie their good intentions.

I have diverse stakeholder experience at a local, state and national levels in the wine industry across a wide range of areas – from grape grower, through the wine value chain, to industry research development and extension, industry training and biosecurity, and bring an ability to understand a range of complementary and conflicting interests.

I bring a mindset of collaboration rather than one of win at all costs, and progress over perfection in developing solutions and partnerships with stakeholders. I would hope that I can bring my current board experience in the not for profit and charity space to this board, and provide strong governance credentials in addition to my appreciation of working with government funding mechanisms and a community lead group.

At a more pragmatic level I hope to support Landcare NSW in its mission and fully support its values, which are similar to those which underpin my own life.

Rene Woods – Independent Director

Why are you seeking to serve Landcare NSW Limited as a director?

I am a Nari Nari man from southwest New South Wales. I has had a long involvement with Gayini (water) for Aboriginal people across the Basin and grew up on the Murrumbidgee River where the river has always been central to my family, my community, and our way of life.

I am a strong advocate for First Nation people in the Basin and have worked in communities in both the public and non-government organisation sectors of the Basin. I am currently employed by the Nature Conservancy Australia as a Conservation Officer and have seen what can happen for communities that have Gayini and land under their ownership and control.

I believe that together we can achieve a strong healthy river system and healthier communities. I work with my Nari Nari Elders to make sure their views are incorporated into Gayini ( water) planning within the state and Basin.

I have previously held the position of chairperson of the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations (2018 to 2020) and have also been vice-chair of the Nari Nari Tribal Council. I held several other positions including with New South Wales Department of Primary Industries Aboriginal Water Initiative (2013 to 2016) and Murrumbidgee Valley Water NSW Customer Advisory Group (2018 to 2020).

I was also a member of the National Cultural Flows Research Committee (2013 to 2018) and was a panel member of Former Minister Littleproud’s Independent Panel for the Assessment of Social and Economic Conditions of Murray–Darling Basin communities.

I was the first Aboriginal person appointed to the Murray Darling Basin Authority Board Member in December 2020.

What do you hope to contribute to the Board of Landcare NSW Limited?

I would hope that I would bring a cultural lens to the work that Landcare does across NSW and my expertise and networks within NSW, Australia and Internationally. My experience and understanding of strategy implementations bring a better understanding and recognition of First Nations land and water practice in Landcare NSW.

I have worked with the key agencies that manage, protection and enhancement of Culture and Heritage across the Southern Basin.

My knowledge of current and emerging issues with the Aboriginal water sector would assist the MDBA to be able to plan and continue to assist Traditional Owners and Basin states to continue the good work already being undertaking across the Basin.

I believe my willingness to listen to all stakeholders, State and Federal Governments and my knowledge of Traditional Owners of the Hay and Balranald Community’s would assist me in this role.