The AIMS Council sets the Institute's key objectives and research strategies and oversees AIMS' management.
The AIMS Council consists of a Chairman, AIMS' Chief Executive Officer, a member nominated by James Cook University, and four other members. The AIMS Act requires that at least three members of Council must have scientific qualifications. All members of Council, with the exception of the Chief Executive Officer, are non-executive appointments made by the Governor General on the nomination of the Minister. Appointments can be up to five years and re-appointment is permissible. The Chief Executive Officer is appointed by the Council for a period not exceeding five years and is eligible for re-appointment.
The Honourable Penelope Wensley AC
Council Chairman: 01 January, 2015 – 31 December, 2019
Penny Wensley served as the 25th Governor of Queensland 2008-2014.
Her appointment as Governor followed a long and distinguished career as a career diplomat, representing Australia in a wide range of overseas postings and senior policy positions in Canberra. Born in Toowoomba, and graduating from the University of Queensland (UQ) (BA1st Class Hons 1967), Ms Wensley joined the then Department of External Affairs in 1968. Her first posting was to France, followed by Mexico, then New Zealand. Her first Head of Mission appointment was as Consul-General, Hong Kong. Subsequent ambassadorial appointments included Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Geneva, Ambassador for the Environment, Ambassador to the UN, New York, High Commissioner to India and Ambassador to France.
Ms Wensley has achieved national and international recognition for her contribution to the UN. She played a key role in the negotiation of several major international treaties, including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the UN Convention to Combat Drought and Desertification. She chaired or co-chaired a number of major UN conferences and processes, including the First UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS, the UN Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, and the UN Budget and Finance Committee. She also helped launch the International Coral Reef Initiative.
Ms Wensley was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2001, a Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of France in 2009, and a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2011. She has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by the University of Queensland (1994), Griffith University (2008), the Queensland University of Technology (2011) and James Cook University (2013). She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs and an Honorary Fellow of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand.
Ms Wensley accepted appointment as Chairman of the Reef 2050 Advisory Committee, one of the principal mechanisms by the cuurent Queensland government to support implementation of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan for the protection and management of the Great Barrier Reef.
Professor Sandra Harding, BSc (Hons), MPubAdmin, PhD, Hon Doc JIU, FACE, FQA, FAICD, FAIM
Council member: 10 May, 2007 – 27 May, 2020
Sandra Harding represents James Cook University on the AIMS Council, and maintains links with the wider education sector. As Vice-Chancellor and President of the University since 2007, she is responsible for ensuring clear and effective leadership and management across all operating sites, including campuses in Townsville, Cairns and Singapore. Professor Harding has extensive academic and academic leadership experience. An economic sociologist by training, her areas of enduring academic interest include work, organisation and markets and how they work. She also has a keen interest in public policy in two key areas: education policy and related areas; and, the global tropics, northern Australia and economic development.
Professor Harding has undertaken a wide variety of external roles within the business community and the higher education sector. Current roles include: Project Convener, State of the Tropics project; Commissioner, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Director, Australian American Education Leadership Foundation; Director, Westpac Bicentennial Foundation Board; Councillor, Queensland Futures Institute; Member, Trade and Investment Policy Advisory Committee; Member, the Australia-China Council Board; Co-Vice Chair, the New Colombo Plan Reference Group; Director, Regional Australia Institute; Director, North Queensland Cowboys NRL club; Director, Townsville Enterprise; Director, Advance Cairns; and, Governor, Committee for Economic Development of Australia.
Dr Brian Fisher, AO, PSM, BScAgr (Hons), PhD, DScAgr (honoris causa), FASSA
Council Member: 26 September, 2007 – 25 March, 2017
Brian Fisher is a practised director and board member with wide experience in agricultural science and economics.
He has been Executive Director of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Vice-President at CRA International and CEO of Concept Economics. He is Chairman and Managing Director of economic consulting firm BAEconomics Pty Ltd. Dr Fisher was previously Professor of Agricultural Economics and Dean of Agriculture and Adjunct Professor of Sustainable Resources Development at the University of Sydney. He has published over 280 articles and monographs. He has been an Associate Commissioner of the Productivity Commission and Chairman of the Prime Minister's Exports and Infrastructure Taskforce in 2005. He served as a member of the expert panel on renewable energy in 2014. Dr Fisher served as convening lead author or lead author in Working Group III of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for their 2nd, 3rd and 4th assessment reports.
Dr Fisher received the Farrer Memorial Medal for agricultural science in 1994, became a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 1995, was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2002, became a Distinguished Fellow of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society and received an Order of Australia in 2007. He holds a PhD in agricultural economics and a DScAgr (honoris causa) from the University of Sydney.
Ms Diana Hoff, BSc Petroleum Engineering
Council Member: 16 December, 2014 – 15 December, 2019
Ms Diana Hoff is an executive in the oil and gas industry with more than 25 years of experience with major and independent companies, including Santos, Chevron and Amoco. She is currently the CEO for The Unconventional Group which advises energy companies in Australasia, the United Kingdom and North America. Ms Hoff has held senior leadership and technical roles in Australia and the United States across offshore and onshore projects in both countries, as well as Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh. Over her career, Ms Hoff has had responsibility for drilling and completions engineering and operations, production and facilities engineering, major projects, and safety and environment.
Ms Hoff holds a Bachelor of Science, Petroleum Engineering (magna cum laude) from Marietta College, Ohio, United States of America. Her career has included engineering and management, with a significant focus on performance improvement and regulatory processes, including environmental approvals, stakeholder engagement and mitigations to lessen impacts to air quality, water quality and surface disturbance.
Dr Stephen Morton, BSc (Hons), PhD, GAICD
Council Member: 16 December, 2014 – 15 December, 2019
Dr Stephen Morton has extensive expertise in conservation, land management and ecological sustainability. He is currently an Honorary Fellow with CSIRO Land and Water. Dr Morton holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and a Doctor of Philosophy in animal ecology, both from the University of Melbourne, and has published more than 150 scientific articles, book chapters, books, refereed reports and popular articles.
In the final decade of his career at CSIRO, he held senior positions as Chief of CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems and then as Group Executive for Environment and Natural Resources (with responsibility for marine science), for Energy and Environment, and for Manufacturing, Materials and Minerals. In the latter role, Dr Morton oversaw the development of long-term, multimillion dollar research and development alliances with General Electric, Orica and BHP Billiton.
Since leaving CSIRO in 2011, Dr Morton has worked as an independent consultant and has taken on several advisory roles, including Chair of the Scientific Advisory Panel to the Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum (Canberra, ACT), Deputy Chair of Territory Natural Resource Management (Darwin, NT), Chair of the Arid Recovery Advisory Board (Roxby Downs, SA), member of the Board of the Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute (Perth, WA), and member of the GBR Water Quality Taskforce for the Queensland Government (Brisbane, Qld).
Mr Roy Peterson, BCom, FCA, FTI
Council Member: 11 December, 2014 – 10 December, 2019
Roy Peterson holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Queensland. He is a chartered accountant with strong governance and audit committee experience, including internal audit, risk management, process improvement and taxation. Mr Peterson has worked in audit and finance positions for more than 32 years, including 26 years as a Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Mr Peterson is currently the Chairman of the AIMS Audit Committee. He is a member of a number of audit and finance committees, government bodies and not-for-profit organisations, has chaired the North Queensland committee for the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), and was a member of the Taxation Institute National Taxation Liaison committee. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and a Fellow of the Taxation Institute of Australia.