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Mark Beaufoy, National President

Mark Beaufoy is an environmental and planning lawyer with over 20 years’ experience. He is a Partner at King & Wood Mallesons. Based in KWM’s Melbourne office, his practice focuses on Commonwealth and Victorian jurisdictions, extending to projects in South Australia and Tasmania. He supports clients across a wide range of industries including infrastructure, energy and resources, real estate, agriculture, consumer, and manufacturing. Mark has wide experience in all aspects of environmental and planning law (including climate, water, heritage and biodiversity), including project approvals (infrastructure, energy, waste and resources), environmental regulatory compliance and due diligence, environmental and planning litigation. He has extensive experience advising on approval strategies for major infrastructure, industrial projects and residential development, including planning, environmental effect statement and impact assessment, environmental protection licensing, European cultural heritage, Aboriginal heritage, biodiversity, development and infrastructure contributions and associated work-in-kind agreements. Much of Mark’s recent work on major projects has been focused on the energy transition and new renewable energy projects, including closure and rehabilitation of former industry and power station sites (including coal fired power stations in the La Trobe Valley, Victoria) and new energy projects including electricity transmission, batteries, solar, onshore wind, and recently offshore wind. Since 2011 Mark has been consistently recognised as leading environmental lawyer by Chambers and in government law, planning and environmental law and climate change in Best Lawyers in Australia. In 2019, he was awarded Lawyer of the Year by the Australasian Land & Groundwater Association. Mark is also a sessional lecturer in the Monash University Law School, teaching Planning and Environmental Law and Climate Law. Mark has undergraduate degrees in Law and Arts from Monash University, and a Masters of Laws (Environmental Law) from Macquarie University.

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Dr Phillipa McCormack, National Vice President

Phillipa is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in law at The University of Adelaide and adjunct lecturer at the University of Tasmania Law School. She researches in the areas of environmental law and public governance, with a particular focus on legal frameworks for biodiversity conservation, bushfire prevention and preparation, and climate change adaptation. Phillipa is a Global Associate with the Centre for Environmental Law and sits on the editorial boards of Frontiers in Climate: Law & Policy and the Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy. She is a member of the Governance Board for Tasmania’s southern regional body, Natural Resource Management (NRM) South, Director of the Environment and Natural Resources Law research theme at the University of Adelaide, and a member of the Centre for Marine Socioecology.

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Tom Webb, National Secretary

Tom is an Associate at Baker McKenzie in its Environment and Climate Change practice, where he assists companies, government and policy-makers with navigating environmental markets, international climate laws and major project approvals.
Tom holds a Bachelor of Laws (Environmental Law and Management) with First Class Honours from Macquarie University. His honours thesis which examined the legal responses to climate-related loss and damage in Australia was awarded 'Best Paper' at the University of Sydney's 2022 Inspiring Legal Research workshop and is the subject of further research. Tom is passionate about promoting environmental laws that adequately represent and serve the different interests of communities and nature.
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Tiphanie Acreman, National Treasurer

Tiphanie is a barrister practising at the Victorian Bar in the areas of property, planning, environment and building. She grew up in Tasmania and became aware of the role of the law in the environmental context during primary school when the Tasmanian Dams case was handed down.

She has undergraduate degrees from the University of Tasmania in Law and Science, majoring in Geography and Environmental Studies, and a Master of Laws from the Australian National University.

Prior to becoming a barrister, Tiphanie worked as an Associate at the Supreme Court of Victoria, and at the federal Department of the Environment. As a barrister, she has advised and appeared in environmental matters relating to federal, Victorian and Tasmanian environmental legislation.

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Cameron Holley, Director

Cameron is a Professor and Head of School for the School of Law, Society and Criminology at UNSW Law & Justice. He has practised environmental and planning law in Queensland and is the current co-chair of the International Network of Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Academic Committee. He is a current member of the Great Artesian Basin Stakeholder Advisory Committee and the Taskforce on Earth System Law, and a former member of The Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law.

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Grace Huang, Director

Grace is a solicitor practicing in the Safe Climate (Human Rights and Coal) team at the Environmental Defenders Office, where she advises environmental and community groups in relation to strategic legal interventions to protect the people and places we cherish.

Grace has also worked with a range of organisations including the Australian Law Reform Commission and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, and has also worked in private practice, most recently with  Herbert Smith Freehills.

She is passionate about cross-sector collaboration, nurturing community amongst like-minded environmental law professionals, and developing robust debate around the reform of environmental law.

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Justine Bell-James, Director

Justine Bell-James is an Associate Professor at the TC Beirne School of Law with expertise in environmental and climate change law. She holds a PhD from QUT (2010) and was a postdoctoral research fellow at UQ's Global Change Institute from 2011-2013.

Justine’s main research interest is legal mechanisms for the protection, management and restoration of coastal and marine ecosystems. She currently leads an ARC Discovery Project (2019-2023) considering how coastal wetland ecosystem services can be integrated into legal frameworks. She is also currently funded as the legal expert on the $3m CSIRO/BHP project ‘Accelerating Adoption and Implementation of Blue Carbon in Australia’ and on two National Environmental Science Program projects to lead legal analysis on interdisciplinary projects related to coastal wetland restoration.

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Madeline Simpson, Director

Madeline is a leading Queensland based environment, planning and development lawyer with a practice that extends into the Northern Territory and South Australia. Madeline has more than 20 years’ experience and is a Special Counsel and a leader of the Herbert Smith Freehills Environment and Planning team in Brisbane. She works with clients in the resources and gas, renewables, electricity, infrastructure, property development and water sectors to provide strategic advice in relation to approvals and permits required for major projects and developments and has expertise in Planning and Environment Court appeals, Land Court appeals, judicial review applications, advising on environmental compliance, contaminated land issues, environmental impact statements, offsets and environmental incident response.

Madeline has a keen interest in environmental policy, advancing environmental and climate change law to facilitate protection of the environment and ensuring industry supports ecologically sustainable development. Madeline sits on the editorial committee of the Australian Environment Review, is a member of the Queensland Resources Council Environment Committee and chairs the Herbert Smith Freehills Diversity and Inclusion Committee in Brisbane.

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Marija Gurlica, Director

Marija Gurlica is committed to dynamic leadership and intersectional diversity. Juggling many hats from wife and mother, to lawyer, Marija is inspired to create a better and more equitable future for the next generation of Australians.
Marija holds a Bachelor of Law (Honours) / Bachelor of International Studies (Asian Studies and Mandarin) and a Bachelor of Critical Thinking and Leadership from Western Sydney University. Collaborating with Western Sydney University in research and publishing, Marija's academic work has explored the intersection between climate change and aviation. In 2022, she returned to Western as a casual academic and subject coordinator for the International Environmental Law undergraduate and postgraduate programs. With a Masters in Property Law (Applied Law) from The College of Law, Marija specialises in commercial real estate, namely leasing. She is committed to helping small businesses thrive, working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities to mitigate all barriers to the law by providing accessible and good legal advice and services. Marija sits on the NSW Law Society Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and is also the former NSW Branch President and National Marketing Chair of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association. Harnessing her skills and networks, Marija enjoys connecting on a creative and provocative level. As an activist, mentor and community advocate, Marija is passionate about contributing to the growth of the legal profession and the broader community. Marija's work and leadership have been recognised by a number of industry awards and she looks forward to expanding the outreach of NELA.
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Michelle Brooks, Director

Michelle is an experienced sustainability leader, passionate about providing high-level strategic advice to ensure companies are complying with their sustainability requirements to deliver outcomes that are consistent with the protection and promotion of their social licence to operate, and clearly disclosing these to their stakeholders.

She has vast practical experience in all elements of sustainability (health, safety, environment, native title, heritage and human rights) from operational level, corporate and as an external advisor. She holds undergraduate degrees in law and science from the University of Notre Dame Australia, and is currently studying Sustainable Capitalism and ESG at Berkeley Law School.

Michelle has a long history volunteering with NELA in Western Australia and Nationally, and a passionate advocate for the advancement of both hard and soft environmental law in Australia, and internationally.

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Sarah Brugler, Director

Sarah is an experienced environmental law professional and is a current doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Law at the University of Tasmania. Sarah’s doctoral research investigates the use of conservation covenants as a tool of environmental law, focusing on key governance elements for covenanting bodies to achieve successful conservation practices in Australia.

Sarah has extensive experience working as a senior lawyer with environmental not-for-profits. Prior to commencing her PhD, Sarah was the Legal Counsel for Trust for Nature (Victoria), Victoria's dedicated private land conservation organisation. In this role, Sarah oversaw conservation covenant negotiation and registration as well as providing organisational legal governance guidance and advice. More recently Sarah has assisted Trust for Nature (Victoria) on legal projects focusing on Indigenous partnerships, including navigating proposed transfers of private conservation reserves to Indigenous groups. Prior to joining Trust for Nature, Sarah worked as a nature law reform lawyer for Environmental Justice Australia (EJA). Sarah has also previously worked as a lawyer for ClientEarth's biodiversity program in London. Sarah commenced her legal career as a commercial property lawyer for Eversheds LLP (UK) and Henry Davis York (Australia).

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Sophia Xian, Director

Sophia is a lawyer practising in the public sector litigation team at Clayton Utz. Sophia was previously an Associate to Acting President Stilgoe OAM in the Land Court of Queensland and the Queensland Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal. During her time at the Land Court, she worked on a variety of matters involving environment protection, cultural heritage protection, human rights, mining and resources, land acquisition, and land valuation. She has also previously volunteered for the EDO and NELA. Sophia hopes to facilitate an interdisciplinary approach to discussions about environmental law and creating environmental solutions.

 

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Sophie Gordon, Director

Sophie is a Senior Policy Officer with the Government of South Australia. As a former EDO volunteer, Sophie assisted with the landmark Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action and KEPCO Bylong litigation and maintains an interest in climate change policy and law.
Sophie graduated from the University of Adelaide in 2021 with a Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Science (majoring in ecology) and Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and has since commenced a Masters of Climate Change at the Australian National University.