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Gondwana Link Ltd

Gondwana Link Ltd is the organisational structure built and operated to support the work of achieving Gondwana Link.  It is a ‘Company Limited by Guarantee’ whose membership consists of groups working to achieve the Link. Gondwana Link Ltd was established on 1 August 2009.

From 5 August 2002 until 31 July 2009 Gondwana Link operated as an informal collaboration between groups.  This approach worked well enough for the collective effort to become nationally and internationally recognised both for its vision and for the tangible achievement. However, this ‘organic growth’ model was not a fully inclusive mechanism, hampered the provision of leadership, and had other shortcomings.

During this period a central Coordination Unit of Keith Bradby and Amanda Keesing operated to support all groups across the Link. For some years, however, it was largely pre-occupied with helping establish efforts in the Fitz-Stirling section of the Link.  The Unit was funded through various arrangements between the larger groups, reported to their respective CEO’s, and was hosted by one of the groups (Greening Australia).

Following discussion across the groups, Gondwana Link Ltd was established as an independent entity, to serve as the ‘keeper of the vision’, to provide leadership in achievement of the vision and as an integrated support network for all involved in achieving the Link on the ground.

Read on for information on Gondwana Link Ltd's

Functions

Gondwana Link Ltd works with a range of groups and others to achieve the Gondwana Link vision. We have six clear functions: 

  1. High profile. Ensure the ecological vision for Gondwana Link has such a desirable profile and level of recognition that a wide range of organisations and individuals want to contribute, and continue contributing, to the work of achieving that vision. 
  2. Funds to achieve tangible outcomes. Work independently and with organisations and individuals to ensure a steady stream of funding and benefits are available to those working to achieve essential parts of the ecological vision for Gondwana Link, with the end result of exponential progress being made against clear targets.
  3. Clear standards. Provide clear ecologically based standards and measures of success to guide the range of work underway and ensure maximum effectiveness in achieving the overall vision.
  4. Monitoring and evaluation. Establish and operate transparent evaluation processes that enable ready evaluation of the relative worth of various projects and their contribution towards achieving whole of Link objectives. 
  5. Critical gaps filled. Identify key gaps in the range of work underway to achieve Gondwana Link and work to fill those gaps effectively but with minimal ongoing role for Gondwana Link Ltd (i.e. attract new groups or incubate a defined role then exit). 
  6. Continuity. Enable the collective effort to survive the ups and downs of area specific or group specific work by ensuring that GLL is viable and fully functional into the future so it can continue to provide leadership, support, guidance, strategic direction and agreed standards.

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Principles

“Values-led conservation is ... founded on the recognition that action to protect nature happens when arguments are framed in terms that resonate with the combination of imagination, feelings and rationality that guide decision making in people’s everyday lives” (Mary Midgley (2001) Gaia. The next big idea. Demos, London) 
 Our principles encompass both the basic assumptions underpinning Gondwana Link, and the standards we apply to our work. 

  • A vastly increased scale of conservation action is essential to arrest the continuing attrition of nature and build resilience to future pressures. We need to exponentially increase the existing efforts and to devise cleverer ways of achieving change. 
  • Achieving long term conservation (at ecological timescales rather than political cycles) in the face of the currently accelerated rates of change, requires the repair and maintenance of ecological functions and strengthening of resilience across systems, rather than a focus on individual species. Species loss and accelerated damage to ecological systems is now so severe in south western Australia that, even before the full onslaught of accelerated climate change hits, we need to undertake a heartbreaking exercise in Triage and concentrate on those systems we can maintain in reasonable condition without a high degree of human interference or ongoing management. 
  • Achieving ecological health and resilience require change across all scales and sectors of society. It is not enough to only work with our conservation colleagues and friends.
  • The diversity of the environment requires a diversity of approaches: there is no single solution. We will not specialize in any particular conservation approach - advocacy, covenants, purchase and many more tools are all required across the mix of land uses and tenure we operate in. 
  • All steps taken should be useful in themselves, with ‘the whole being greater than the sum of the parts’. We will achieve the Gondwana Link vision by identifying and implementing those ‘no-regrets’ actions that give good ecological outcomes while also building the larger Gondwana Link - every step along the way will be an important one that we should take anyway.
  • People cannot be separated from nature: they may be part of the pressures but we need them as part of the conservation responses. We will demonstrate empathy, respect and compassion for both people and nature – recognising that change has to occur amongst a matrix of land uses centred on meeting human needs. While strongly asserting the need to accept more supportive arrangements with the natural world, we will also work to achieve greater compatibility between land uses. Strengthening the resilience of linked ecological and social systems is our role in building a society that is viable, vibrant and ecologically supportive. 
  • Actions should be informed by the best available, evidence based, science interpreted through experience and common sense. Our scientific knowledge of complex ecological systems will always be incomplete but this cannot be a reason for inaction. There are many sources and forms of knowledge, and formal science needs to be supplemented with the rich veins of local and traditional knowledge, much of which is based on generations of observation and interpretation. 
  • These times require ongoing and highly adaptive processes rather than pre-determined conservation area designs and plans. Change, growth and a steady increase in the involvement and understanding of key people needs to be rapid, in the face of high levels of loss and change, regardless of inadequacies in available core information. 
  • Clarity on objectives and processes, shared learning and equity across sectors is essential for adaptive co-management and efficient integration of roles and actions. We will work through cooperative and open structures across the various areas and programs while using open and rigorous discussion to build astute and common sense approaches.

Structure

Gondwana Link initially operated as an informal collaboration between groups – an ‘organic growth’ model if you like. This approach worked well enough as the collective effort became recognised both for its vision and its tangible achievement. But as the effort grew, the number of groups involved grew and the funding needs grew – we grew as well.
Gondwana Link is now led by Gondwana Link Ltd - a not for profit public company limited by guarantee and registered under the Corporations Act (2001). As a Limited Company we are subject to the scrutiny of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and are subject to annual audit.   

We initially adopted an interim management structure, which involves nominees of our three ‘Founder Groups’, who financially supported us through establishment and made up the initial Gondwana Link Ltd Board, which is currently being expanded to five. We accept ‘corporate memberships’ from environmental groups involved in achieving Gondwana Link, but individuals are currently unable to be formal members (we're working on a better idea!).
The current arrangements change on June 30 2012. During the transition period we have kept our corporate memberships at 5, though all groups involved in helping achieve Gondwana link have been treated equally. After June 30 we intend to significantly expand our formal membership.

The transitional arrangements set out above were designed to support the gradual establishment of Gondwana Link Ltd, including our strict governance arrangements, without unduly adding to the heavy work load carried by the two core staff or slowing the onground momentum. A priority for the organisation in 2012 is to maintain the on-ground achievements we support while increasing staff to a more sustainable level.

We have established a Gondwana Link Public Fund to provide governance for donated funds, and in 2012 will be establishing a formal Members Forum and a Science Advisory Group.

This is what we are building organisationally, for 2012 onwards.

Board

Our current Board consists of:

VirginiaYoung

Virginia Young - Chair

Virginia Young has been involved in successful environmental campaigns across Australia since the late 1980s. Prior to this she ran the mining section of the Foreign Investment Division in the Federal Treasury and then her own business. 

She pioneered a continental scale approach to nature conservation in Australia, called ‘Wild Country’ and has also played a leading role as the Wilderness Society’s National Forest Campaign Co-ordinator in the difficult arena of protecting Australia’s native forests. She has been involved in international climate processes and campaigns since 2007. The opportunities and challenges which were apparent then lead her to create (working with key ally Global Witness) an alliance of like minded international ENGO’s called the Ecosystems Climate Alliance who work together to bring good science, good policy and nature advocacy into the UNFCCC. Virginia was awarded Wild magazine’s Environmentalist of the Year in 2001, and was recognised as one of 20 ‘Global Wilderness Visionaries’ by the World Wilderness Congress in 2010.

 

Louise Duxbury

Louise has a PhD Sustainability and Technology Policy Murdoch University. She is a sustainability practitioner and facilitator with thirty years experience in facilitating, developing and implementing environmental initiatives across the Great Southern region and beyond. Louise has worked with all sectors of the South Coast community delivering education and training and projects that build understanding and appreciation of the deep connections between people and places that underpin our social, economic and spiritual wellbeing. She has been involved with the development of environmental tourism in the region since 1994 initiatimg a specific course in the field, and supervising projects such as the surveying of 30 sites across the coastal region to assess environmental impacts and the market potential of ecotourism. Recent projects include development of the Shire of Denmark bike plan, and assessment of the economic and social capacity of the south coast to adapt to changing climate. Louise is known by many for her work with Green Skills and the Torbay Catchment Group.

Pip Walsh

Pip has over 20 years' experience in the not for profit sector working for a range of organisations with diverse business models, and has been part of senior management teams for both WWF and Greening Australia for over 10 years. She was CEO of Greening Australia NSW prior to taking on the Senior Manager role at Bush Heritage. Pip has also worked in leadership roles at the NSW Nature Conservation Trust and the National Parks Association NSW. She has worked across all jurisdictions in Australia including in the planning of large scale conservation programs on private and Indigenous land including innovative Ramsar listings. Pip is the leader of the Australian Conservation Action Planning Coaches Network in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, which focuses on helping teams and their coaches improve their strategic planning and delivery.

Watch this space

Two additional Board members will be appointed in the near future. Check back again for their identities! 

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The core staff

Stretched thin across the entire 1000km are two staff. They are:

Keith Bradby

Keith BradbyKeith Bradby moved from Victoria to Western Australia in 1976. For many years he lived in the bush near Ravensthorpe and worked as a bee keeper and seed picker. During this time Keith developed a deep appreciation and knowledge of the region's unique flora, wildife, society and cultural heritage.

For 25 years Keith has worked for an end to land clearing in south-western Australia. In the early 1980s he was part of a small group of people who successfully fought government proposals to open up a further 3 million hectares of land for farming. In the same period he was active in establishing the Fitzgerald River National Park Association and local landcare groups. In the early 90s he achieved success as the Coordinator of the Community Catchment Centre for the Peel-Harvey Estuary, by engaging with the local farming community, and subsequently wrote a history of the estuary and efforts to rescue it. As a government troubleshooter in the late 90s he played a key role in tightening land clearing controls. In 2001 Keith and Frank Rijavec worked together on the nationally acclaimed documentary A Million Acres a Year, which tells the story of how a region now recognised as one of the top 25 biological hotspots on the planet was opened up for broadacre farming. Since late 2002 Keith has been working for Gondwana Link and is currently the Gondwana Link Program Director. 

Amanda Keesing

Amanda Keesing

Amanda's passion has always been the natural environment. Amanda has a degree in Biology from Murdoch University, plus Honours in Microbial Genetics, and has worked in various university laboratories. After several years editing and publishing a magazine on viruses in Asia, Amanda moved to the south coast of Western Australia where she and her husband raised a family and ran a small farm. During this time Amanda was very involved with the Walpole-Nornalup National Park Association. After moving to Albany in early 2003 Amanda began work with Gondwana Link. Her leisure time is spent exploring and photographing the natural wonders of the area. Amanda's current role is the Gondwana Link Ltd's Information Manager.

Leading key projects

We have a wonderful team leading work on specific projects. These include:

Peter Price

Peter has an extensive background in ‘Outback Australia’. His family owned and managed Coodardy Station at Cue for many years, which is where Peter grew up. He has spent many years operating a pastoral consulting practice specialising in the restructuring and management of pastoral enterprises. This included negotiating exploration access and mining impact agreements between pastoral and mining interests, as well as acquiring land for Traditional Owner groups.
He has also worked nationally and internationally on sales and marketing in agricultural products and services and the development and marketing of innovative technologies.

In February 2010 Peter joined the collaborative team which has brought the importance of the Great Western Woodlands to wider public attention. He represents the interests of Gondwana Link and PEW Environmental Group Australia. Their ongoing program is aimed at the Woodlands being recognised, managed and protected as an intact and connected landscape, through cooperation with regional stakeholders including traditional owners, pastoral and mining industries, local and state government and community.
Peter Price is Program Manager for Great Western Woodlands.  

Paula Deegan

Paula has much experience in strategic planning and this has been her core role in assisting Gondwana Link. Paula guided the first conservation action plan for Gondwana Link - for the Stirling to Fitzgerald section of the Link - and worked with Angela Sanders to further develop this plan and the monitoring protocols. Paula also assisted with the initial Fitz-Stirling monitoring work which enabled the collection of baseline data. Since then Paula has worked on conservation plans for several other areas. She has completed the first iteration of the Granite and Woodlands Conservation Plan for the Kondinin-Dundas area, worked on the best approaches for the Ravensthorpe Connection and is currently tackling the whole of Link strategic plan.

Barry Heydenrych

During 2011 - 2013 Barry was seconded from Greening Australia to undertake conservation action planning in a number of areas across Gondwana Link. He has extensive experience in this conservation planning process and has guided the development of five plans across Gondwana Link. Barry will be away travelling March- December 2013 but we look forward to welcoming him back to Gondwana Link on his return.

Les Schultz

Ngadju man Les Schultz is working with the broader Ngadju community to increase the understanding of conservation and land management opportunities and assist in building capacity to achieve them. Once conservation and management needs have been prioritised the Ngadju people hope to fund initiatives to achieve their goals.

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