The MIP Team

Charles Hammond, Project Leader

Charles has a Bachelor of Commerce and post graduate qualifications in natural resource management.  Charles has a long background in environmental planning and management.  He has worked for the Wet Tropics Management Authority, Parks Victoria, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage, the Sunshine Coast Regional Council and more recently was the CEO of the Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation.

Charles enjoys sailing of any kind, hanging out it with his family including his crazy chocolate kelpie Coco, particularly at the beach, and good comedy.  A highlight of his career to date was the great work his team did with the Sunshine Coast Regional Council in developing the very first Regional Biodiversity Strategy.  The Strategy went on to be a finalist at the Planning Institute of Queensland Environmental Planning Awards in 2011.

Email Charles, or phone 0400 721 241

Fiona George, Basin Coordinator (Tully)

Fiona has post-graduate qualifications in environmental management and is multi-lingual. She has a background in environmental consulting and had a landscape design and construction business for 20 years before coming to the Wet Tropics in 2004. She has worked in New Zealand, Japan and Australia, particularly learning about how community, business and government work in partnership to achieve environmentally sustainable landscape-scale outcomes that meet the values and aspirations of the community.

As well as her role with the MIP, she grows vanilla in the Russell River valley at the foot of Mt Bartle Frere with partner, Matt. She is a founding member of farmer group, Wet Tropics Soilcare, that advances farmers’ understanding of agricultural soil health. She played a major role in organising the highly successful 2016 National Biological Farming Conference in Cairns. In 2012, Fiona was a finalist in the Kondinin/ABC Rural Farmer of the Year Awards as a “farming woman”.

Email Fiona or phone 0488 702 203

Sandra Henrich, Basin Coordinator (Johnstone)Sandra Henrich Wet Tropics

Prior to her position with the MIP, Sandra worked in the sugarcane industry in the Russell/Mulgrave catchment involved in various programs including the Wet Tropics Sugar Industry Partnership, Smartcane BMP, Project Cane Changer, Reef Water Quality Incentive Grants and assisting with Industry Recovery post Tropical Cyclone Yasi.

Sandra has an Advanced Diploma in Agricultural Business Management as well undergraduate and certificate level qualifications in environmental sustainability, Indigenous culture, adult education and training and corporate governance.  Having come from a family that produced both sugarcane and paw paws, Sandra has an appreciation for the challenges faced by primary producers in the Wet Tropics and is looking forward to helping landholders in the Johnstone Basin to overcome them.

In addition to her role as Basin Coordinator, Sandra and her husband Clinton have a property in Bartle Frere. She is a Director and Company Secretary of Babinda Community Financial Services Ltd and plays an integral role in community events in the district.

Email Sandra or phone 0439 916 749

Suzette Argent, Catchment Repair Project Officer Suzette Argent - Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project

Suzette holds a Bachelor of Rural Science, previously worked as an extension officer for the Wet Tropics Sugar industry Partnership, and also worked on the design and construction of the Sunshine Coast pineapple farm bioreactor.  Suzette will be integral in implementing the Catchment Repair and Treatment Systems action plan as part of the MIP. The 2017/18 wet season will be utilised to identify, assess and design catchment repair initiatives for implementation in the 2018 dry season.

Having grown up on a Queensland farm, Suzette is passionate about getting outcomes that are good for the environment, and good for production and profitability on farms. She is excited to be part of a project that is working to deliver water quality solutions as an entire community.

Email Suzette or phone 0459 996 692

Christopher Algar, Catchment Repair Project Officer 

Chris has a background in water treatment, surveying and contaminated land, largely been based around the collection of environmental and spatial information. He has worked on large environmental monitoring programs, environmental investigation projects and baseline water quality investigations.

Chris is a Cairns local, and grew up enjoying the natural beauty on offer in the wet tropics. He's passionate about preserving the beauty of the Wet Tropics for future generations. You'll find him bush walking, spending time on or in the water, or tending to his garden.

Alicia Buckle, Water Quality Project Officer (Leader)

Alicia is an environmental scientist with a background in ecotoxicology and aquatic ecosystem health monitoring. Alicia worked in research for 16 years, studying the effects of pollutants on freshwater and marine plants and animals and using this information to calculate water quality guidelines. Prior to the role with the MIP, Alicia worked as an environmental consultant, where she designed and implemented receiving environment monitoring programs and provided specialist ecotoxicology advice to clients from a range of sectors. Alicia has been a longstanding contributor to the revision of the national water quality guidelines, most recently as the technical manager for the peer review process undertaken for new toxicant guideline values.

Alicia and her family live on a small acreage property at Koah with their growing menagerie, including a small herd of dairy goats.

Email Alicia or phone 0421 061 861

Emma-Lee Harper, Water Quality Project Officer (Technician)Emma-lee Harper is the Water Quality Technician for the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project

Emma-Lee holds a Bachelor of Science and has undertaken post graduate study in Environmental Management. Prior to her role with the MIP, Emma-Lee lived and worked in Cape York, where she was involved in a variety of projects including the Marine Monitoring Program, and Indigenous Ranger-led water quality monitoring and community engagement initiatives. Emma-Lee was also fortunate enough to spend time working on Lizard Island as a research assistant.

Emma-Lee has a love for the water and adventure. She has travelled to over 20 countries and is a keen scuba diver. She has recently moved to Tully with her husband and young daughter and are thoroughly enjoying the community and lifestyle.

Email Emma-Lee or phone 0438 243 538

Romain Kobel, Water Quality TechnicianRomain Kobel

Romain completed his electrician's apprenticeship in Switzerland. After working some years in the trade he shifted to technician work in security systems companies before moving to Australia with his partner, six suitcases and a cat.

Prior to the MIP, Romain worked as a solar panels installer. He was initially a casual employee for the MIP before securing a permanent role supporting the water quality team with sampling and equipment maintenance. He lives in Mission Beach and is also a volunteer firefighter.

Email Romain or phone 0438 243 538

William Darveniza, District Extension Officer (Johnstone) Will Darveniza

William studied a Bachelor of Environmental Design and Architecture, with a focus on agricultural systems. After graduating university he traveled extensively overseas, and then returned to the family farm to follow a career in agriculture, assisting with farm management and marketing.

He has lived on farms around far north Queensland his whole life, growing up in Dimbulah and Innisfail, and currently lives on a cattle farm in South Johnstone growing cane, papaws, bananas and mangosteens. Will has a keen interest in the agricultural industry and the way the future of farming is changing. He's passionate about learning from the other farmers in the region and sharing knowledge gained from his participation in industry research and development. He enjoys spending time in the rainforest and on the reef, and takes every chance he can get to go camping and fishing.

Email Will or phone 0436 622 084

Maria Ribbeck, District Extension Officer (Tully) 

Maria studied Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. She's from Chile, but in her time in Australia has lived and worked in Tasmania, the Cape York area, and the Tablelands.

Prior to her role with the MIP, Maria worked for a large agricultural corporation managing the field harvest operations. Her other experience includes business development management, and Maria has also worked closely with farmers in developing agricultural policy.

She and her partner have a small building investment business which keeps them occupied on weekends. You'll often find her camping and fishing with her Blue Heeler dog, "Django".

Email Maria or phone 0436 634 411

Patrick McArthur, Agribusiness Extension Officer

Patrick has over 20 years’ banking and finance experience.

He swapped corporate banking in the big cities for a tropical fruit farm in the far north, where he operated the farm full time for seven years. More recently he moved to the Tablelands and managed a local Bendigo community shareholder bank servicing the Ravenshoe and the Georgetown districts.

Patrick was raised in the regional towns of Ravenshoe, Ingham and Gordonvale and has a passion for North Queensland people and communities. He spends a couple of weekends most months commuting to Cooktown with his partner Lynette and three children to take time out on their farm. He’s excited to offer his business and analytical skills to assist local producers in meeting their business and personal goals.

Email Patrick or phone 0412 719 392

Dalton Howden, Extension Trainee (Johnstone)

Dalton has a Bachelor of Environmental Science from the University of the Sunshine Coast. He grew up in the Glasshouse Mountains, and moved to Innisfail at the start of 2019. His partner's beginning her career as a teacher at Innisfail State High.

He'll be working closely with Sandra Henrich, Debra Telford and William Darveniza, and farmers in the Johnstone basin. On the weekends you'll find him exploring far North Queensland and playing for the local soccer team.