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.

Prescribed burning in GVD

Mulga flower ~ Eucalyptus youngiana

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

including the Trust Deed

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.

 Large-Fruited Mallee ~ Eucalyptus youngiana

Sand Monitor ~ Varanus sp.

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.

Dr 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.

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.

Rosemarie Lane

Rose is the Manager Environment Operations for AngloGold Ashanti Australia and has been with the company for the past ten years. Rose has significant experience within the environment and sustainability sectors of the mining landscape within Western Australia.

Ben Miller

Dr Ben Miller is DBCA Fire Science Program Leader and Principal Research Scientist, with 30 years applied research experience in plant ecology, fire ecology, landscape conservation and ecosystem restoration projects around WA, as well as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, New Caledonia and Mexico.

Ben’s previous roles involved research at Melbourne University and Kings Park Science (2007-18: ultimately as Director). Ben is a member of the WA Threatened Ecological Community Advisory Committee.

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.

Belinda Bastow

Belinda Bastow is an Environmental Biologist with over 25-years of experience within the Resources sector across WA, assisting 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 and First Nations People across WA. Belinda works with small and medium-sized companies, facilitating baseline studies, including flora, fauna and aboriginal cultural heritage surveys, and developing management processes to minimise impacts. 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.

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 the 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 Senior Research Scientist in the Ecosystem and Animal Science Programs. Mark has now taken a role with Curtin University as Senior Adjunct Fellow.

Operations Manager

Our Operations Manager coordinates, facilitates and project manages 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.  

Ian Anderson

Ian started in the role in July 2023, having previously worked for the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) for the past 22 years. He has worked in operational roles throughout the state from Shark Bay, Exmouth, the Mid West and the South West of Western Australia. His primary focus for the past 20 years has been marine and terrestrial conservation initiatives along with extensive fire management throughout the state. Ian has extensive experience working on marine biodiversity survey projects ranging from seagrass, temperate and subtropical reefs systems and oceanographic studies.

Prior to heading back to university to study marine science he was a commercial photographer working throughout the advertising and fashion industries. He has now swapped seagrass for spinifex and is a passionate advocate for conservation and biodiversity projects.

Our Partnerships