Posted by on 19 September 2018 | Comments


From 3 to 10 October, Ecotourism Australia members will be voting to fill five available positions on Ecotourism Australia's Board of Directors. 

Please find the candidate biographies below. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by their surname.

Alysia Brandenburg

Individual member


Alysia has been in the tourism and hospitality industry since her teens, working in the family country hotel in Dimboola, Victoria.  

Since then Alysia has developed a passion and career in tourism in regional communities, grounded in the realities of small business, competitive marketplaces, changing labour needs and quality customer service. 

Alysia holds a Masters of Tourism from Monash University, is a Victorian Tourism Award Judge and has worked for multiple entities including resorts, tourism boards, membership-based associations and state governments. She is a personal member of Ecotourism Australia and VTIC. 

Alysia has a passion and expertise for engaging with the industry sector in a collaborate manner, particularly focused on sustainable destination planning, accessibility and visitor experience development.  

She was the architect of award-winning tourism initiatives during her career at Parks Victoria and developed and delivered tour operator reforms to reduce red tape, promote resilience and create enabling environments for operators. 

Alysia is a strong advocate for accreditation programs and industry standards and champions the importance of maintaining quality standards, compliance activities and skills training. 

She has a personal commitment to the promotion of the health benefits of engaging with nature and is dedicated to experience development that connects visitors with people, place and storytelling in a sustainable manner. 

Alysia has served on numerous tourism organisations, including being Chairman of Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges Campaign Committee, and TAPAF.  She demonstrates strong leadership attributes in governance, financial accountability, strategic planning and membership value.

Since leaving Parks Victoria recently, after a 19-year career culminating in the senior position of Tourism Manager, Alysia has been working with World Urban Parks, supporting the International Parks and Leisure Congress 2018 in a volunteer capacity.

She is highly regarded as a tourism specialist and industry leader, has a great team spirit, sense of humour and capacity to work together to progress concepts to reality. 


Peter Cochrane

Individual member

Current Director, renominating


Retiring from full-time employment in 2013, Peter chairs the Steering Committee of the National Environmental Science Program’s Marine Biodiversity Hub, the Protected Area Learning and Research Collaboration, and boards of the Australian Tropical Herbarium and the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute.  He is a director of Ecotourism Australia, Tangaroa Blue Foundation and Earthwatch Australia Institute. 

He was elected in 2016 as a member of the Council and Bureau of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). He has been appointed as the IUCN Council focal person on oceans. 

In 2017 he was appointed as a Commissioner of the NSW Independent Planning Commission.

He consults on environment and governance issues.

Peter was Director of National Parks and head of Parks Australia from 1999-2013. From 1994-99 he was Deputy Executive Director of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association. He was an adviser on environment and sustainable development to two federal Ministers for Primary Industries and Energy from 1990-94. From 1974-1990 he worked at the Research School of Biological Sciences, ANU supporting a range of research projects on the ecology and eco-physiology of native plant species.

He has a BSc and Master of Public Policy from ANU.  


Michael Collins

Business member: CF Global

Current Director, renominating 


With 30 years’ experience in the hospitality, accommodation and tourism sectors within Australia, Michael is the Principal of ‘CF Global’, a Perth based consultancy with a strong focus on sustainable tourism projects, sourcing and procurement. Michael also spent some time working with the Caravan Industry Association WA to implement a membership growth strategy and provide business mentoring to its members. 

Prior to starting CF Global in 2013, Michael was the Group General Manager for a private West Australian accommodation chain, overseeing the group’s hotels and hospitality assets throughout WA, including the award winning Karijini Eco Retreat and CBD located Terrace Hotel. Located in the magnificent Karijini National Park, the Karijini Eco Retreat has over almost a decade established itself as a market leader in environmental and Indigenous tourism and is recognized as an innovative and progressive employer and skills trainer of Indigenous people.

Michael continues to be an avid volunteer and contributor to the wider tourism industry and has over many years worked with a number of Aboriginal groups and corporations, been a panel member of ATEC’s national advisory panel for the backpacker sector. Michael was a board member of Australia’s North West Tourism and is a current board member of FACET. 

Michael was first elected to the Board of EA in 2010 and currently sits on the Certification and Governance committees.


Cameron Costello

Certified operator: Minjerribah Camping (Advanced Ecotourism, ROC and Climate Action Business Certified)


Cameron is a Quandamooka man from Moreton Bay off the coast of Brisbane in South East Queensland. 

Cameron is a law graduate from the University of Queensland and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Leisure Management. 

Cameron has worked previously in the legal industry and over 15 years in local and state governments delivering Indigenous policies and programs including the Backing Indigenous Arts Program and the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair. Cameron is currently the CEO for the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation ‐ the Native Title Body for the native title determination over Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island). 

He has also been the Chair of Minjerribah Camping, a joint venture business between the Quandamooka People and Indigenous Business Australia.


Peter Johnson

Certified operator: Owner & Director of Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat (Advanced Ecotourism and Climate Action Business Certified)


Peter and wife Kerry conceived and developed the multi-awarded and highly visitor rated Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat in 2011 and in doing so, developed a passion for ecotourism. Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat attracts visitors from around the globe with international tourists accounting for over 30% of its business. As well as stunning accommodation, gardens and eco-guiding activities the property is currently extending into the area of boutique eco-weddings and small business workshops. 

As a team, Peter and Kerry have strong connections to local tourism. Kerry chairs the Camden Haven Tourism Marketing Committee and is a Board Member of the Greater Port Macquarie Tourism Association. Peter manages risk and safety for the Slice of Haven popular food and wine festival.

Peter’s primary career has been in health management. He has been the CEO or Senior Executive of several hospitals (public and private) ranging from medium size rural hospitals to the Prince of Wales Teaching Hospital complex in Sydney (with 6000 employees) where he developed and honed his skills in corporate governance and strategic planning. As the co-owner and director of a performance benchmarking company for 10 years he has specific skills and training in the area of KPI development, data presentation and analysis, and performance management systems.

More importantly, Peter has extensive experience in the processes, systems and benefits of accreditation. He has been a coordinating assessor for hospital, aged care, disability and community accreditation systems since 1993 and has provided accreditation education and support to many health care providers, including remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This year he extended his accreditation experience into the overseas accreditation market place with work in Sri Lanka. His understanding of and commitment to accreditation led him seek Advanced Ecotourism and Climate Action Business Accreditation for his Treehouse Retreat just 12 months after opening. Peter is passionate about the opportunities for the development of small independent ecotourism businesses and their importance to Ecotourism Australia and the Australian tourism industry.


Innes Larkin

Certified operator: Proprietor, Mt Barney Lodge (Advanced Ecotourism and Climate Action Business Certified)

Current Director, renominating


Innes Larkin has been active in the outdoors from an early age and remembers climbing Mt Barney for the first time at age 11. A trained teacher with a Master of Arts in Outdoor Education, Innes has taught in London, Brisbane and at an outdoor education centre at Maroon Dam. In 2003, Innes and his wife Tracey managed Mt Barney Lodge, then purchased the property in 2006 and have grown the business 900% since then.

During his time at the lodge Innes has been involved in many rescues including once getting winched from a helicopter to rescue four climbers, stuck on the cliffs of Mt Lindesay. His skills, knowledge and position give him the unique ability to interact with emergency services to effect rescues in a timely and cost-effective manner. Innes sees this community service as a way of giving back to the mountains that sustain his business.

In 2011, a local newspaper reported on a proposed coal mine in Mt Barney region and Innes became involved in the community group “Keep the Scenic Rim Scenic”. Community meetings, information sessions, database mail outs, speeches, government deputations, meetings and finally a 10-day Blockade in January 2012 where he was arrested for his beliefs, created the impetus for stopping all forms of coal and CSG mining in the Scenic Rim. This experience has led Innes to utilise the Mt Barney Lodge business brand to simply get the balance right - firstly in his region of the Scenic Rim but also now in the greater regions of Qld and Australia.

A current member of the community advisory committee (and for the last 6 years) for the Gondwanan Rainforests of Australia World Heritage property, Innes is passionate about sustainable tourism and the lasting legacies that an ecotourism industry can bring to a region.


Robyn Nixon

Certified operator: General Manager, The Intrepid Foundation at Intrepid Group (Advanced Ecotourism, ROC and Climate Action Business Certified)


Robyn's career path has been anything but conventional. After working professionally in theatre for 14 years she entered the travel industry in 1991. She and a friend started a small group adventure travel company taking travellers to India. It was here that she met Darrell Wade, Co-founder of Intrepid Travel, who convinced Robyn to leave New Zealand and work for Intrepid in Melbourne.

During her 18 years with Intrepid, Robyn has headed up International Business Development, Global Sales and Marketing, Commercial, and as General Manager of Peregrine, People and Sustainability. She also spearheaded the work which lead to Intrepid Group winning 2 DFAT (BPP) supported projects in association with AVI in Myanmar and WWF in Nepal.  This diverse experience means she is well equipped to take up the newly created position of General Manager for the Intrepid Group’s philanthropic arm, The Intrepid Foundation. 

Over the past 12 months Robyn has directed her focus to providing a clear strategic direction around sustainability, shared value and partnerships for the group. Using this experience, she hopes to provide a new era for the Foundation driving sustainable outcomes and greater impact for communities.


Lisa Patroni

Protected Area Manager member: Executive Director of Marketing, Communications and Partnerships – Parks Victoria


As the Executive Director of Marketing, Communications and Partnerships for Parks Victoria, Lisa is committed to enabling Parks Victoria’s vision “To be a world class parks service ensuring healthy parks for healthy people”. Parks Victoria is the largest nature-based tourism provider in Victoria and manages national parks, urban parks, waterways and coastlines, that together receive over 100 million visits each year.

With over 20 years’ experience in the broader tourism industry, Lisa is committed to the growth and sustainability of Victoria’s visitor economy. Her goal is to enhance nature-based visitor experiences and maintain Parks Victoria as a modern, high-performing sustainable organisation.

Lisa brings a contemporary and innovative approach and is leading Parks Victoria's digital transformation, marketing and communications, tourism partnerships and stakeholder and community engagement.

Lisa’s career to date includes senior positions with the Victoria Racing Club, Peter Rowland Catering and Melbourne Convention and Visitor Bureau. Lisa has also held Board and Chair positions with the Victoria Tourism Industry Council, Meetings and Events Australia and Meetings and Events Victoria.

Dedicated and passionate about building long term strategic partnerships with like-minded organisations and a goal of achieving clear business outcomes, Lisa is well placed to enable the state in unlocking Victoria’s nature-based tourism potential.


Rosie Sandover

Certified operator: Kingfisher Tours (Ecotourism and ROC Certified)


I have been resident in the Kimberley for 26 years and operate two businesses, I sit on the Board of Kununurra Visitors Centre and am a committee member for the Royal Flying Doctor Flying 1000 in WA.

I am a member of the WA Tourism Council, Top End Tourism, Broome Visitor Centre and Halls Creek Visitors Centre, and WAITOC. I believe that I can represent the Kimberley members of Ecotourism Australia, in an informed, fair and transparent manner and I would be honoured to fill a board position.

My businesses are Kingfisher tours in the North East Kimberley, Kingfisher is a local aerial adventure tour company, operating since 2014. At Kingfisher we have 5000 people through our doors each season from all around Australia and the world. We practice sustainable environmental practices i. e. removing all single use plastic, using local produce and bush tucker for our picnic lunches we provide, and promoting all Aboriginal tour partnerships and product in the region, and work diligently towards local employment and a sustainable tourism industry.

I am also the Director of RPM Project Management a Western Australian based project management company,, which has been operating since 1999. RPM has been contracted for several State and national projects, including the international Square Kilometre Array Project including the implementation of the Murchison radio astronomy agreement across the Midwest of WA. The Argyle Diamond Mine Participation Agreement implementation, The Sea farms, Project Sea Dragon Project feasibility on the local supply chain and employment opportunities in Northern Australia. All these projects are long term sustainable projects, and all incorporate tourism product development.

I am contracted to WA Indigenous Tourism Operators Committee (WAITOC), to work with Wunambal tour operators to develop Honey Moon Bay and with local Miriuwung tour operators to develop the Ribinyung Dawang Aboriginal Cultural Tour on the Ord River.


Daniel Smedley

Business member: Studio S2 Architects


Even before the start of his formal education in architecture Daniel had a fascination for how buildings work and how to optimise their efficiency. His study and career has seen him work across the country specialising in tourism projects and bring his eco understanding to projects of all scales. 

Daniel's desire to share his knowledge and research began with a thesis on sustainability and the effect of the building code of Australia. His passion has grown into an investment into how design codes effect true eco impact and has seen him participate in various eco-design organisations, work for five years with one of Australia’s leading eco-design architecture practices (Guymer Bailey Architects) and become involved with Ecotourism Australia - most recently assisting with the review of the ECO Certification criteria and guidelines. Daniel's goal is to understand individual business and the tourism industry and help apply his knowledge through design to help make a place uniquely sustainable, attract visitors, drive growth and become unmissable.

Daniel Smedley is Director and Senior Architect at Studio S2 Architects Pty Ltd. He is a registered Architect in South Australia, with a Bachelor of Architecture (Hons) from the University of Adelaide.  


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