Helen Mahar is a primary producer from the Western Eyre Peninsula In South Australia. The family property has been owned by the same family for over 100 years. As the land has an extensive cover of native vegetation, the managemnet of farm has to deal with most of the management issues of a national park, including public access. So when the youngest of the children went to boarding school, Helen began external studies with Orange Agricultural College, completing Associate Diplomas in Rural Business Administration and in Land Management.
The administration of Native Vegetation laws prompted Helen into agri-politics, where she served on two South Australian Farmers Federation Policy Committees, Natural Resources and Commerce, at State level, for a number of years. Helen also served locally and regionally on a Soil Conservation Board (10 years), National Parks Consultative Committee (3 years) and the EP Water Resources Policy Committee (5 years). For family reasons Helen resigned from all of these a few years ago, but remained involved in two community organizations as secretary and treasurer. Helen has also worked off-farm for a total of 5 years, in two nearby aboriginal communities, in an administrative capacity.
Helen joined the AEF in 2006 as she considered its aim, that conservation policy be based on sound science, made it a natural fit for primary producers.
Director & Scientific Coordinator
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Professor Peter Ridd is a Reader in Physics at the James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland. He has extensive experience in environmental research primarily in marine settings. His experience includes designing, manufacturing and using electronic and optical instrumentation for monitoring environmental parameters on coral reefs, mangrove swamps and other environments.
Professor Ridd has over 60 publications in scientific journals and receives considerable funding from the Australian Research Council primarily for environmental research.
Professor Ridd has had a long history of association with environmental organizations, including the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland and Sustainable Population Australia. He believes that some environmental campaigns run by environmental organizations, and some decisions made by government lack sound scientific backing, which potentially leads to misplaced priorities for environmental funding and legislation.