WHO ARE WE?

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 54 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?

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.

MEET THE BOARD

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.
Mike Moller
Mike Moller
Mike has over 40 years of professional experience in public, private and not-for-profit organisations throughout Queensland and overseas. This experience includes roles in agribusiness, economic development, natural resource management and environmental protection. He is currently the Regional Engagement Coordinator for the Wide Bay Burnett Environment Council Inc. Mike is a committed advocate for regional NRM groups and sees BMRG as a leading organisation for delivering environmental protection, natural resource management and economic development outcomes.
Prof Phil Brown
Prof Phil Brown
Professor Phil Brown has an Honours degree in Agricultural Science and a PhD in Horticultural Science. He is currently the Professor of Horticultural Science at CQUniversity. His research in agricultural and environmental science has focused on the translation and application of research outputs into practices that are adopted by agricultural industries to improve productivity and sustainability. Phil has also been acknowledged by the Queensland Government as a Science Champion in recognition of his work.
Elizabeth Shanks
Elizabeth Shanks
Elizabeth (Beth) Shanks operates two grazing properties with her husband Ross in the South Burnett. Her passion for natural resource management began when she worked to preserve habitat for the vulnerable Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby and Greater Glider found on one of her properties. She has a Diploma in Business and is President of the South East Burnett Landcare Group and sits on BMRG’s Regional Landcare Facilitator Committee. She is passionate about NRM and believes in employing Best Management Practices and a holistic management approach to production that is environmentally sustainable and commercially viable.
Vanessa Elwell-Gavins
Vanessa Elwell-Gavins
Vanessa Elwell-Gavins was CEO for six years of NRM South, the southern Tasmanian equivalent of BMRG. She has worked extensively with government in policy and program development and water planning management. She has also worked with the Institute for Aboriginal Development and Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies giving her a broad Indigenous cultural understanding. She is currently secretary of the Wildlife Preservation Society – Fraser Coast Branch and an active member of the Lower Mary River Land and Catchment Care Group. She has a passion for conservation and believes in delivering strategic onground conservation works and the efficient and effective engagement of the community in NRM.

MEET THE TEAM

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!
Jason Ogden
Jason OgdenBusiness Services Manager
I have completed a dual degree in Sustainability and Accounting in order to become a ‘Green Accountant’. Working within NRM is a privilege and is suited to what I believe in. I am also motivated by knowing I have done my role to the best of my ability and helping other people to succeed.
Pete Kafka
Pete KafkaDigital Transformation Manager
I am an experienced digital transformation executive and marketing professional with over 15 years experience across a number of different industries. Leveraging my experience, my focus will be to help BMRG drive the digital transformation across the business to create new business benefits. I am very excited and proud to be part of the BMRG team within the role of Digital Transformation Manager.
Tess Bowe-Fernley
Tess Bowe-FernleyAdministration Officer
I joined BMRG in 2017 as a trainee for a Cert III in Business Administration. I now have a Diploma in Business and I’m continually provided opportunities for growth & development. I work with such a fine group of people, and I love being able to provide administrative assistance both to them and the wider BMRG community.
Jillian Bartels
Jillian BartelsHuman Resources & Administration Officer
I have come to BMRG with a diverse background in business administration and a Diploma in accounting. I enjoy working with and assisting the BMRG team who are all passionate about improving the natural environment and working in partnership with our stakeholders.
Radka Jack
Radka JackProject Support Officer
Originally from a Czech farming family, I appreciate the diverse and beautiful Australian environment. The need to proactively manage and safeguard it for future generations and my own children is important to me.
Summer Coffison
Summer CoffisonProject Officer
I have a degree in Ecology and Conservation and professional experience in terrestrial ecology. It’s exciting to have the opportunity to apply my professional skills and knowledge in conjunction with the Wide Bay community to better the natural resources in my role as a Project Officer.
Nick Maclean
Nick MacleanProgram Manager Indigenous & Coastal
I love seeing holistic environmental outcomes achieved through partnerships with our stakeholders. Projects where once completed, everyone has a better understanding of the issue and the solutions – stronger country, stronger people. For me the glass is always half-full, and every cloud has a silver lining.
Gabrielle Norman
Gabrielle NormanGreenCollar Stakeholder Engagement Officer and Goondicum Research Foundation Projects and Biodiversity Officer
I enjoy working on projects that promote biodiversity through habitat protection and improved landscape function. I believe regenerative agriculture is key to a sustainable future for our community and environment.
John Coulombe
John CoulombeDrone Pilot Officer
With a passion for environmental science and a keen interest in horticulture, drones and sustainability, I am motivated to work with farm managers and natural resource managers to develop and implement innovative drone technology for precision agriculture, fire management and marine management solutions within the Burnett Mary Region.
Allysa Brown
Allysa BrownCo-ordinator, Bunya Mountains Murri Rangers
My mob is from the Birdsville area, so I’m excited to have the opportunity to be here learning the different cultural practices and the significance of the Bunya Mountains. I love being outdoors and taking care of country, returning fire to the grasslands. I want to pass down what I’ve learnt to the future generations.
Daniel Alberts
Daniel AlbertsBunya Mountains Murri Ranger
I love my work because we don’t do the same jobs two days in a row. We’re outside living and working on the land our ancestors controlled and maintained, and we’re teaching young kids about the Bunya Mountains. Not many people get an opportunity like this!
Hedley Bell
Hedley BellBunya Mountains Murri Ranger
After high school I felt motivated to become an Indigenous Ranger. Working on and protecting my own traditional country, Wakka Wakka country – it’s a dream come true.
Kori Munro
Kori MunroSenior Murri Ranger
Being a Murri ranger, it’s a position where I can really embrace my culture and my love for the outdoors. What makes me most passionate about this role is that we are caring for and preserving sacred land that was once walked upon by our ancestors.
Chantelle Mickelo
Chantelle MickeloAdministration Officer, Bunya Mountains Murri Rangers
My culture is my passion. I love working for the Murri Rangers because it enables me to be involved in caring for this beautiful part of the country that I grew up in, where my dad would take us kids out on country to teach us about the land and our culture. He was one of the first Murri Rangers, so I like being able to carry on the hard work that he did getting this program started.
Cathy Mylrea
Cathy MylreaLand and Water Program Manager
I really love seeing younger staff who are starting their careers at BMRG get out and deliver extension, improving the bottom line for producers and improving our natural resources.
Hannah Russell
Hannah RussellProject Officer
I have a Bachelor of Applied Science and experience in the sugarcane industry as an extension officer. In my role as Project Officer, I look forward to collaborating with the community to improve water quality, stakeholder productivity and natural resource management.
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.
Emma Baker
Emma BakerGrazing Extension Officer
I come from four generations of farming in Australia. I live and breathe the Agricultural industry, thriving on the knowledge that I am helping people to improve their business productivity and sustainability.
Ryan Trott
Ryan TrottGrazing Extension Officer
Having grown up in the grazing industry, I really love working with landholders to enhance their businesses, especially when they reap the rewards of sustainable agricultural practices. This is what motivates me to keep going.
Simon Hunt
Simon HuntProject Officer, GIS Support/Drone Pilot
I love healthy landscapes and strongly believe that for Australia to thrive, it needs humans who know the land. It excites me everyday that my job allows me to work with landholders to build their capacity to live on that land.
Wendy Thorsborne
Wendy ThorsborneRegional Extension and Education Coordinator
I’m passionate about the people and industries of rural and regional Australia – my aim is to use my accumulated skills and knowledge to contribute to their development, particularly in the agricultural sector. The highlight for me is interacting with such a range of people, and I’m motivated to see them reach their full potential!
Kevin Bowden
Kevin BowdenTechnical Officer, Data Management and Chief Remote Pilot and Maintenance Controller
Exploring new GIS and mapping technology to solve real world problems, that’s what keeps me motivated. I’m passionate about providing practical GIS solutions to meet NRM outcomes.

OUR VALUES

BMRG’s core values of honesty, integrity, accountability, respect and commitment to excellence guide all of our decisions and actions.

BMRG DOCUMENTATION

OUR REGION

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 region includes:

  • World Heritage listed K’gari [Fraser Island] – K’gari is the largest sand island in the world, It features complex dune systems that are still enduring and have an array of rare and unique features, including dune lakes and tall rainforests. The Island was inscribed on 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 – 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. Situated partially within and between the Fraser Island World Heritage area and the mainland coast, it covers 93, 160 ha. 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 comparatively small Great Sandy Strait Ramsar site.

The Burnett Mary region provides habitat for more than half of Australia’s bird species and more than 7,500 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.

Primary Industries

The Burnett Mary region is internationally renowned 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 and fastest growing macadamia, avocado, sweet potato and chilli producers, all of which depend on safe and secure export markets for future growth.

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

The region also boasts Queensland’s largest timber plantations and produces two thirds of the state’s softwood plantation resources.

Being adjacent to the Southern boundary of the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, the region’s fishing industry is based on a sustainable harvest of scallops, prawns, spanner crabs, mackerel, mullet and reef fish. The industry has a clear competitive export edge based on the region’s international reputation for clean, sustainable fishing practices.

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