About the Trust


delivering a lasting

net-environmental benefit

The Great Victoria Desert Biodiversity Trust is designed to benefit a broad range of stakeholders in this remote part of the world. It is the only Trust of its kind operating in the Western Australian mining environmental landscape.

Our Story

The Great Victoria Desert Biodiversity Trust was established to deliver lasting net-environmental benefits to the Great Victoria Desert bioregion through the provision of funds connected to a Tropicana Joint Venture offsets strategy.

The Great Victoria Desert Biodiversity Trust commenced operations in April 2014.

The Trust’s overarching purpose is to facilitate and/or undertake research and development, environmental education, and on-ground conservation and rehabilitation work to benefit the Trust area in the Great Victoria Desert. 

Adaptive Management

The surveys and on-ground management which the Trust conducts are executed within the remit of adaptive management (learning by doing). We aim to fill the knowledge gaps in this under-studied region to improve short-term and long-term outcomes for land management and for the conservation of threatened species, with a special focus on malleefowl and sandhill dunnarts. Finally, we aim to use the outcomes of new research as evidence to inform future management activities in the region.


      Structure of the Trust

      The activities and expenditure of the Trust are governed by a Management Panel, which consists of representatives from the Department of Biodiversity and Conservation and AngloGold Ashanti Australia, and an independent Chair.

      The day-to-day management and operation of the Trust is the responsibility of the Operations Manager, supported by technical advice from a Technical Advisory Panel (TAP).  The TAP consists of five members – independent and technical experts with experience in desert flora and fauna conservation and management.

      The Trust is governed by a Trust Deed. This document details the relationship between:

      • The Management Panel;
      • AngloGold Ashanti, as the founder; and
      • The Public Trustee of WA, as the financial manager.

      The Trust Deed also outlines the roles and responsibilities of the Management Panel, Chair, Trustee, Operations Manager and the TAP, and the purposes and scope of the Trust.

      Purpose of the Trust

      The Trust has four principle objectives outlined in the Trust Deed:

      1. Develop a Bioregional Management Plan for the Great Victoria Desert IBRA subregions 1 (Central) and 2 (Shield) (being the Trust Area);

      2. Facilitate and/or undertake priority research identified in the Bioregional Management Plan at the landscape level and into threatened species including species considered to be of national environmental significance (NES) under the EPBC Act.

      3.Fund on-ground environmental and conservation management at the landscape level, with emphasis on net conservation benefits to threatened species including those considered of NES under the EPBC Act.

      4. Facilitate indigenous involvement in land management and conservation activities in support of the above objectives.

      Management Panel

      Our Management Panel was established in April 2014. Its functions are set out in the Trust Deed, and focus on supporting the Trust to facilitate and/or undertake research and development, environmental education and on-ground conservation and rehabilitation work to benefit the Trust area during and after the life of the Tropicana Project.

      Garry Middle (Chair)

      Dr Garry Middle is an Adjunct Senior Research fellow at Curtin University, and is the Director of an independent research company, Vision Environment.  Garry has over 30 years experience in environmental planning and environmental impact assessment.  He is an independent member of the Western Australian Planning Commission and chair’s Western Australia’s peak coastal planning authority, the Coastal Planning Coordination Council.  Garry’s research interests include character and values of coastal communities, urban open space planning, the use of offsets in environmental impact assessment, climate change adaptation planning, the effectiveness of environmental impact assessment, effectiveness of urban and environmental policy and strategic land use planning.

      Norm Galli

      Norm Galli is the Manager Environment, for AngloGold Ashanti Australia Ltd.  Norm has significant operational, approvals and reporting experience in mining.  Norm has previously worked extensively in formal conservation and the photographic safari business in Africa.

      Nerilee Rockman

      Nerilee Rockman is the Vice President for Legal, Environment and Supply Chain at AngloGold Ashanti Australia Ltd.  Nerilee has been with AngloGold Ashanti for 16 years, and prior to that held legal counsel roles at each of Mobil and WMC.  She commenced her career at Mallesons.

      Mark Cowan

      Mark Cowan has an  interest in wildlife and spent almost 30 years as a professional biologist. He has worked for the Environmental Protection Authority, the Western Australian Museum and is now at Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions as an ecologist. Mark’s roles have included Regional Ecologist in Kalgoorlie, Principal Rangeland Ecologist for Western Australia and currently as Senior Research Scientist in the Ecosystem and Animal Science  Programs.

      Nigel Wessels

      Nigel Wessels is the Regional Manager for the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Parks and Wildlife Service’s Goldfields Region.  Nigel has worked in the environment and conservation fields for 28 years, both in South Africa and Australia.  His experience includes ecological research, nature conservation management, parks and visitor services management, and environmental consultation.

      Technical Advisory Panel

      Our Technical Advisory Panel was established in 2015 to assist the Trust on an ongoing basis through the provision of expert advice to the Operations Manager and Management Panel.  The functions of the TAP include:

      • Provide feedback on the scope of proposed research and project outcomes;
      • Contribute to potential environment and conservation management measures;
      • Participate in third party reviews of research and conservation work;
      • Assist the Operations Manager in the assessment of research and conservation submissions and in the compilation of grant submissions;
      • Facilitate the sharing of the Trust outcomes and provide insight into existing knowledge that may be beneficial to the Trust. 

      Stephen van Leeuwen

      Dr Stephen van Leeuwen’s 35 year career has focused on botanical and biological surveys in the agricultural zone, rangelands and deserts of Western Australia.  Stephen has a good understanding of arid zone biodiversity, the ecology of threatened plants and animals, the fire ecology of mulga woodlands, and the intrinsic link between Country and Traditional Owners.  Stephen supports a collaborative evidence-based approach to biodiversity management and the sustainable use of natural resources.   Stephen is a respected Noongar man who is passionate about Indigenous participation in nature conservation, biodiversity management and caring for Country.  He understands and appreciates the value of Indigenous knowledge and promotes the co-design and co-delivery of biodiversity research and land management programs particularly when those programs impact on the lands and cultural values of Traditional Owners. Stephen actively participates in a number of Indigenous reference groups and advisory bodies providing recommendations to the corporate, government and academic sectors along with Ministerial advisory committees such as the Indigenous Advisory Committee to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment, the Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel and the National Environmental Research Program’s Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hubs’ Research Executive Committee.


      Katherine Moseby

      Dr Katherine Moseby is an ecologist from South Australia (SA) currently with the University of NSW who specialises in reintroductions, predator-prey relationships and arid zone ecology.  Katherine has lived and worked in the SA arid zone for more than 25 years on a wide range of arid zone species. She co-founded Arid Recovery, a fenced conservation reserve where Bilbies, Quolls, Bettongs, Bandicoots and Stick-nest Rats have been successfully reintroduced.  Katherine and her partner have implemented various management actions for Malleefowl and Sandhill Dunnart on their private Nature Reserve in SA, and worked with indigenous and government stakeholders to implement surveys and trial management regimes.

      Blair Parsons

      Dr Blair Parsons is currently the Science and Planning Manager at Greening Australia, an organisation that seeks to conserve and restore landscapes at scale through collaborative, science-based and innovative conservation programs.  Blair has been involved in ecological research, management and consultancy across much of Western Australia.  Blair aims to apply his skills and experience to achieve genuine biodiversity gains in the Great Victoria Desert, particularly related to collective impact, Malleefowl, fire and predators.

      Belinda Bastow

      Belinda Bastow has over 18-years of experience within the Resources sectors, including environmental positions with Worsley Alumina, AngloGold Ashanti and St Barbara Limited assisting the operations and companies manage their activities in an environmentally and socially responsible way.  In October 2014, Belinda started her own consulting company which aims to provide specialist environmental and sustainability services to the Resource Industry.  Between May 2007 and October 2014, Belinda worked for AngloGold Ashanti Australia on the Greenfield’s development of the Tropicana project, including managing and obtaining  approvals, establishing the operations environment and safety teams and ensuring that sustainability and compliance requirements were incorporated into the design and planning of the proposed site.  One of Belinda’s key philosophies is that sustainability and compliance are critical to the long-term success of any business. 

      Ryan Ellis

      Ryan Ellis is a Senior Zoologist with Biologic Environmental Survey. He is primarily involved in managing and undertaking biological surveys and threatened species monitoring to assist environmental approvals and compliance for proponents across WA. Prior to entering the consulting industry, Ryan was employed by the Department of Environment and Conservation (now Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions) as a Technical Officer, where he was involved in a range of  biodiversity and threatened species conservation projects. Ryan is also a Research Associate at the Western Australian Museum, where he is involved in various research projects focusing on the taxonomy of Western Australian herpetology. Ryan’s research interests include the taxonomy of terrestrial vertebrates and conservation of threatened species, particularly reptiles and mammals.

      Operations Manager

      Our Operations Managers coordinate, facilitate and project manage the Trust’s projects in accordance with the Trust Deed. They are also responsible for participating with the Technical Advisory Panel in discussions relating to the environmental objectives of the Trust, and in all activities undertaken to achieve and implement the Trust Purpose, and agreed scopes of works.  

        Kathryn Sinclair

        Kathryn Sinclair has been with the Trust since its inception.

        Dorian Moro

        Dr Dorian Moro has worked on science and landscape projects across the Pilbara and offshore islands facilitating the conservation of threatened species. He has worked in academia, industry and government agencies on a variety of small and large environmental projects, and brings both an understanding of the need for strategic thinking, science, practical on-ground management and the human ethos to landscape-level programs aimed at managing habitat for threatened species, and for respecting culture on country.