Who are we?

The people behind BMRG

The Burnett Mary Regional Group for Natural Resource Management Ltd. (BMRG) is the peak body for natural resource management (NRM) within the Burnett Mary region. Established in 2001, we are one of 56 national, not-for-profit regional bodies providing an essential link between the community and various programs procured by Government and other funding sources.

What do we do?

Fostering strong relationships

BMRG’s vision is “to protect and enhance the agricultural and natural environment of the Burnett Mary region for future generations”. We achieve this by directing investment into a wide range of community-based programs that deliver positive outcomes in the areas of ecological diversity, sustainable land management, water quality, cultural heritage values and coastal and marine management. Community collaboration and partnerships are paramount to us achieving our vision. We continue to foster strong relationships with a range of organisations including: Local, State and Federal Governments; Landcare and Catchment Care groups; Indigenous organisations; agricultural and industrial sectors; universities and schools.


Tony Ricciardi
Tony Ricciardi
In addition to serving for many years as a BMRG Director, Tony also has a long history of service in Local government. He served for seventeen years as an Isis Shire Councillor and post amalgamation, another seven years as a Bundaberg City Councilor. Tony is also a third generation cane farmer and has diversified into other crops including avocados and peanuts. His wealth of Local government experience, rural farming skills and previous experience as a Board member make him the ideal person to take up the role of Chair of BMRG.
Brent McLellan
Brent McLellan
Brent is the co-coordinator of the Port Curtis Coral Coast Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement, the largest of its kind in Australia and dedicated to the perseveration and sustainability of the Port Curtis Coral Coast Region, including Great Barrier reef and Sandy Strait. Additionally, Brent manages the Gidarjil Land and Sea Ranger programs, ensuring that rangers and managers achieve sustainable management of natural resources, preservation of the region’s wildlife, and cultural heritage protection. As a proud Tarebilang Bunda, Goreng Goreng man, Brent collaborates with numerous partners and the community about Indigenous Elders’ aspirations for sea country, in accordance with his commitment to his people and to the future of the natural environment.
Jeanette Harrold
Jeanette Harrold
Jeanette is equal parts strategist and environmental specialist with over 30 years’ experience in governance and environmental management.

For the past 20 years, she has been influencing sustainable environmental policy for the Fraser Coast Region, specifically in the water resource and waste management sectors.

Jeanette is naturally a detailed critical thinker and compassionate communicator with risk management sharpness to ensure BMRG continues to promote practical solutions and make a sustainable difference.

Jason Ogden
Jason Ogden
Jason has held various roles within State and Local Government over the past 22 years. He has undertaken a bachelor’s degree of Accounting and Sustainability and is a graduate at the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and holds a wealth of experience across numerous aspects of corporate services.
Jason is a strong advocate for quadruple bottom line reporting to enable businesses to ensure that Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social factors are embraced to better define the core purpose for business and potential investment.
As a non-executive Director at BMRG Jason’s goal is to use his sustainability knowledge to help promote and strengthen sustainability responsibility across the Burnett Mary Region.
Gayle Minniecon
Gayle Minniecon


Sheila Charlesworth
Sheila CharlesworthCEO
Leadership is about creating opportunities that enable your organisation to find successful outcomes. It’s also great to see young people develop and grow in their ability to deliver these opportunities. We all want to leave the world in a better place for future generations!
John Craig
John CraigStrategy & Partnerships Manager
With a cross-disciplined background, I am passionate about designing and implementing the foundations teams need to be truly successful and realise their individual and combined potential.
Ann McKenzie
Ann McKenzieGrazing Land Management Officer
I enjoy working with people, having conversations and sharing information. I believe in healthy food, produced in a healthy environment.
Bob Spiers
Bob SpiersNatural Capital Strategic Advisor
I have been actively involved in Regional natural resource management in Queensland for two decades. My experience also includes World Heritage and Protected Area planning and management (marine & terrestrial), Indigenous ranger programs, and biodiversity and Reef water quality protection.
Samuel Groom
Samuel GroomProject Officer
I have recently completed a Bachelor of Environmental Science and have been placed at BMRG by the Agriculture Extension Work Placement Program under the Queensland Farmers Federation. The Bundaberg region is my home and I’m looking forward to working towards sustainable environmental changes here while learning from the best at BMRG.
Tom Hubbard
Tom HubbardDigital Content Officer
I have recently completed a Bachelor of Creative Arts with a Major in Film and Television, where I studied film making and video editing. I am excited to be given this opportunity to work as the Digital Content Officer for BMRG where I can put my studies to the test and help raise awareness for the environment.
Victoria Clarke
Victoria ClarkeCommunications Project Officer
I have a great love for the outdoors and am passionate about the preservation of the natural wonders of the Australian continent. With a Bachelor of Science and experience in wildlife presenting, I look forward to bringing both into my role to assist in the good work BMRG does.
Benjamin Hoekstra
Benjamin HoekstraProject Officer
My on-ground experience working on large scale revegetation projects (along the Mary River) inspired me to continue my push to help save these fragile ecosystems. Originally from the Sunshine Coast, I enjoy familiarising myself with the beautiful Bundaberg Region and making a real difference in how we best manage our natural resources.
Matt Taylor
Matt TaylorEcologist
With expertise in nature conservation, environmental monitoring, and citizen science I am passionate about integrating the ecological and socio-economic dimensions of environmental issues, so that communities can thrive alongside nature.
Michael Grebert
Michael GrebertRegional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator
My grandfathers were drawn to the Burnett Mary region by the opportunities offered in the local agricultural industries. They also instilled an appreciation of the value of our diverse natural resources and a desire to maintain them for future generations. My love of the natural environment and community is reflected in my involvement in various local projects including artificial reef planning, deployment and scientific baseline studies as well as education and community integration and program management with local agricultural producers.
Laura Matthews
Laura MatthewsOffice Administration Manager
I have a great love of our beautiful local region, particularly our coastal areas which I call paradise. I have always been passionate about the environment and doing my part to keep it healthy from collecting plastic waste at my local beach to reducing my family’s carbon footprint. I am proud to be a part of BMRG knowing their amazing contributions bringing positive results to our local environment.
Dr. Madelon Willemsen
Dr. Madelon WillemsenResilience Manager
I am driven to deliver solutions to complex problems for a sustainable future for all species. Aided by expertise gained in my senior management and executive positions tackling wicked problems and my PhD, I convene and cultivate impact networks across sectors, cultures and wide-ranging perspectives to co-design, plan and deliver collaborative and evidence-based nature-positive outcomes for people, the environment and biodiversity.
Sydney Collett
Sydney CollettProject Officer
My passion for nature conservation and threatened species ecology has taken me across Australia. The wide variety of species found in the Burnett Mary region is exciting and I enjoy working together with Traditional Owners, stakeholders, research groups and anyone with a common interest of helping and preserving the environment.
Conway Burns
Conway BurnsTraditional Owner Engagement Coordinator
I have a long history of caring for and sharing the values of Country. I have worked as a Ranger for more than 20 years and also for the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation (BAC) as a tour guide and educating kids. I love connecting with Country and storytelling with kids to ensure that as the next generation, they understand their own connections and role of Country in their lives.
Aidan Gantschnigg
Aidan GantschniggResearch Officer
Currently studying for a Bachelor of Fine Arts: Film, Screen, and New Media, my passions lie strongly in discovery and education. The opportunity to work as Research Officer as part of the BMRG team excites me. I am thrilled to combine the company’s values with my passions in order to raise awareness for the environment in all generations.
Tom Espinoza
Tom EspinozaDirector of Research
Building on 20 years of experience as an ecologist, my goals are to develop and oversee strategic science across the business, develop and maintain meaningful relationships across all stakeholder groups, and build a nexus between Indigenous and modern science for better natural resource management outcomes.
James Thomas
James ThomasDirector of Public Affairs
I care deeply about our natural environment. I hope to use my background in executive government broadcast media and environmental policy to further BMRG’s protection of it.
Tanya Fountain
Tanya FountainTechnical Project Support
I am a passionate environmental practitioner bringing to the BMRG team expertise in the fields of ecological restoration, natural area management and threatened species conservation. I am committed to the delivery of effective, innovative and inclusive NRM projects and programs that deliver real outcomes for the regions environment and community.
Kish Eleperuma
Kish EleperumaDirector of Project Delivery
Having worked on portfolios spanning renewables, marine, transport, and mining, I am passionate about
developing people and optimising business practices to ensure that we deliver world class projects to the
highest standards in a sustainable manner to create value for our investors and the community.

Our brand

The BMRG icon is a reflection of who we are, bringing assets together to work in harmony for our region.
To learn more about our brand and the use of our logo click here.

Blue represents the waters of our rivers and marine areas, we are working hard to improve water quality in our region to maintain healthy and diverse ecosystems.

Green represents our unique environment and the people who live there, this is reflected in our daily actions and commitment to sustainability.

Brown represents the agriculture and industry of our region who we support to develop more sustainable practices for better farming outcomes with fewer environmental impacts.


BMRG map

Covering approximately 56,000km2 of land and 11,000km2 of sea, the Burnett Mary Region is internationally renowned for its ecological diversity, extensive primary production and rich cultural heritage.

The region also supports Queensland’s largest regional population (approximately 300,000 people) – outside of the South East Corner.

Natural Assets

The Burnett Mary region provides habitat for more than half of Australia’s bird species and more than 300 of its flora and fauna species are rare, threatened or endangered. Abutting the Southern boundary of the Great Barrier Reef, the region’s marine environment has more marine fish diversity than the reef itself. The region also includes:

  • World Heritage listed K’gari [Fraser Island] – K’gari is the largest sand island in the world and was added to the World Heritage list in 1992 in recognition of its outstanding natural universal values. It is characterised by long uninterrupted white beaches flanked by strikingly coloured sand cliffs, majestic tall rainforests and numerous freshwater lakes of crystal-clear water.
  • Ramsar listed Great Sandy Strait – Covering 93,160 ha this internationally renowned site is a double ended sand passage estuary receiving tidal flows from Hervey Bay in the North and Wide Bay in the South. Fresh water is delivered from a 1.25million ha catchment via the Mary and Susan Rivers, creeks, coastal streams and Cooloola Sand Mass to the Great Sandy Strait Ramsar site.

Primary Industries

The Burnett Mary region is well-known for its prime agricultural land, well-managed water resources and innovative farming and fishing practices. These attributes support a range of industries including grazing, pork, sugar, dairy, tree crops, seafood, grain and wine and associated processing and value adding industries.

Cattle grazing represents the largest industry by land use and largest regional employer. The region also represents Australia’s largest macadamia, avocado, sweet potato and chilli producers as well as Queensland’s largest timber plantations.

Traditional industries such as sugarcane, have spawned world-class beverage processing industries including for example, Bundaberg Rum and Bundaberg Brewed Drinks.

Being adjacent to the Southern boundary of the Great Barrier Reef, the region’s fishing industry has an international reputation for clean, sustainable fishing practices.

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