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Michelle Neil, National Memberships Officer

Michelle is a recently graduated and newly admitted lawyer with experience working in property, commercial and estate planning law.

Law is Michelle’s second career after working nearly 20 years in the veterinary and wildlife industry. Michelle has worked as a vet nurse, wildlife rescuer and rehabilitator, and research volunteer at such organisations as the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Hospital and the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.

It is Michelle’s passion for wildlife and the environment that led her down the legal path, and ultimately joining the team at NELA.

Michelle’s long-term goal is to be more actively involved in environmental and animal law reform in both Queensland and Australia.

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Nabeela Raji, National Education Officer

Nabeela Raji is a recently admitted Australian lawyer, currently providing legal research and consultancy services in the areas of energy, climate change and environmental law and policy. Nabeela has also worked across a broad range of advocacy and law reform initiatives in the areas of human rights, transitional justice and constitutional reform as a lawyer in Sri Lanka.

Nabeela’s childhood exploring the wildlife sanctuaries of Sri Lanka on photography expeditions and love for hiking and spending time outdoors in nature led to a keen interest in the role of law in protecting the environment.
Nabeela’s passion, combined with growing momentum on the urgency of combating climate change in Australia, has influenced the direction of her career to date and motivated her to join NELA as an appointed officer. Nabeela hopes to contribute her legal experience and interest in environmental law towards advocacy and finding solutions in the climate change space in Australia and overseas.
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Xavier Tan-Smith, National Secretariat Officer

Xavier is currently studying full time in his second year completing a bachelor of commerce majoring in business law and finance.
He plans to pursue a career in law with a direct entry into the postgraduate Juris Doctor degree at the University of Western Australia.
Xavier is currently working part time in strata management and runs a small tutoring business.
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Reid Thornett, National ESG & Sustainability Officer

Reid is a Law Graduate at Bennett – Litigation and Commercial Law.

Reid holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Finance) from the University of Notre Dame.

Reid is passionate about the global decarbonisation narrative and the transition of society towards a sustainable future. He is particularly interested with contemporary legal issues and perspectives related to sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG). He otherwise enjoys dissecting complex theories and finding succinct ways to communicate them to multidisciplinary audiences.


His long-term goal is to become a recognised legal leader in sustainability.


Neve Worthy, National ESG & Sustainability Officer

Neve recently graduated with a Juris Doctor from the University of Western Australia. She is currently undertaking her Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. Neve also holds a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science).

Neve has experience working as a vacation clerk in the ESG and sustainability space. She now works as a law graduate.

Neve began volunteering with NELA in 2022. Her passion is climate change advocacy, particularly the impact of climate change on people and the environment


Charlotte Traves, National Publications and Submissions Officer

Charlotte Traves is a fifth-year Arts/Laws (Honours) student majoring in International Relations and Politics. Charlotte works as a paralegal at Herbert Smith Freehills in the Environment, Planning and Communities (EPC) team. Charlotte’s interest in environmental law has developed during her experience as a paralegal, a role through which she has researched and examined the operation of current environmental legislation and policy and potential areas for reform. With this knowledge, Charlotte is passionate about investigating the effectiveness of environmental regulation in Australia, and developing methods of ensuring that Australia is able to meet its Nationally Determined Contribution as prescribed under the Climate Change Act 2022 (Cth). This inspired Charlotte to volunteer as a publications and submissions officer for NELA in 2023.

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Ethan Kumar, National Publications and Submissions Officer

Ethan is in his penultimate year of studying a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Business (Public Relations) at the Queensland University of Technology.

Ethan currently works as a Real Estate and Environment, Planning and Communities paralegal at Herbert Smith Freehills. He also works as a research assistant on various projects relating to biodiversity conservation and broader environmental compliance.

After completing his Judge’s Associateship at the Federal Court of Australia, Ethan intends to pursue a career working in environment and planning law—with a particular interest in helping corporations navigate developments in the global ESG landscape.

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Ruby Ioannou, National Publications and Submissions Officer

Ruby is currently studying full time at the University of Queensland, undertaking a Bachelor of Arts/Law (Honours) majoring in French and International Relations.
Growing up on Magnetic Island – a refuge of biodiversity – Ruby was surrounded by rich, tropical landscapes and nature. This upbringing instilled her with a profound appreciation and understanding of wildlife, marine and environmental conservation. She has also learnt of the importance of sustainability and slow fashion through her mother’s eco-printing business, which uses natural dyes derived from local leaf and plant matter to produce textiles and garments.
These experiences have inspired Ruby to meaningfully contribute to climate advocacy, prompting her commencement as a volunteer publications officer at NELA in 2023. Passionate about legal research and law reform, Ruby is ultimately committed to finding and presenting balanced, informed solutions.

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Nayonika Bhattacharya, National Publications and Submissions Officer

Nayonika is a final year Arts/Law student at the University of New South Wales and currently works in family law, property law, wills & estates. Her passion to work in a field of law that has a highly positive impact is what led her to volunteer and join NELA. Beyond this, Nayonika is an Ambassador for Hockey NSW and the Institute for Economics and Peace.

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Shannon Peters, National Publications and Submissions Officer

Shannon Peters is a solicitor practising in planning and environment law in NSW and is also a Sessional Teaching Academic at Macquarie University.

In 2018, she completed her Bachelor of Laws from Macquarie University. After graduating she worked as a Tipstaff in the NSW Land and Environment Court. In 2021 she completed her Master of Environmental Laws at Pace University, specialising in Global Environmental Law. While undertaking her masters, she was also the Graduate Fellow for Pace University's Global Center for Environmental Legal Studies.

Since her undergraduate studies, Shannon has been passionate about contributing to organisations that focus on the protection of the environment, which has motivated her involvement with NELA.

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Tom Irwin, National Marketing Officer

Tom is currently in his third year studying commerce full time at the University of New South Wales. He has completed his major in marketing and is now exploring environmental science pathways to complete the degree.

He is passionate about the natural world and what both corporations and regulatory bodies can do to conserve and rehabilitate the environment. He believes that marketing is a key communication channel that is necessary to connect scientific and legal expertise to the organisations that have the power to make change.

Tom currently works as a marketing intern and has experience in marketing strategy and digital content marketing in large corporate firms. He wishes to combine this experience with his passionate for nature in order to limit human impact on the environment and restore some of the damage humans have already done.