Our people

North Queensland Conservation Council, based in Townsville, is a membership-based Environmental Non Government Organisation run by an elected Management Committee and supported by volunteers. Campaigns Manager Simon Cheers has worked for the organisation since April 2020 and is normally the first point of contact with the public. 


Simon Cheers - Campaigns Manager

Simon grew up in Townsville and developed a strong connection with the North Queensland environment by fishing the Ross River, camping throughout the region, and rock hopping at Alligator and Crystal Creek. Simon’s career in environmental advocacy and management started in South Australia after he completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Environment and Park Management. 

Simon has worked on large scale revegetation projects, ecological monitoring and fire management. He has also volunteered for GetUp, The SA and NT Greens and the Arid Land Environment Centre. His most recent position was with the Central Land Council working with Traditional Owners reintroduce ‘cool’ burning into various ecosystems in the Northern Territory. 

When Simon isn’t working he is very active in Townsville’s comedy scene and has done stand up comedy at the Adelaide Fringe and venues all over Australia. He also enjoys Mountain Biking and playing guitar. 

Simon was appointed to the position of Campaigns Manager in April 2020, replacing Tarquin Moon. Previous staff members have been known as "Coordinators" and in the last fifteen years have included Jeremy Tager, Carol Booth, James McLellan, Gail Hamilton, Wendy Tubman, Maree Dibella (2016-17) and Russell Kelly (2017).

Crystal Falknau - Community Campaigner

Crystal moved to Townsville in 2016 from Toowoomba, where she had completed her Bachelor of Science in Environment and Sustainability at the University of Southern Queensland. During her studies she developed a passion for environmental advocacy and joined the environmental movement. After attending some demonstrations and volunteering at market stalls she joined NQCC's Management Committee in 2017. Following stints as Acting Coordinator and later Secretary, she was employed at NQCC's Community Campaigner in October 2018.

She loves camping and hiking and has visited over 80 National Parks throughout Australia. Her other main passion is martial arts, though she takes a non-violent approach to fighting climate change and environmental destruction.

Management Committee (2020)

Peter Hanley - President

Peter Hanley has lived in North Queensland for more than 30 years. His interests include human rights, social justice, sustainability and community development, with a particular penchant for creative performances to educate and inform. Peter is also a convenor of the Amnesty International Townsville branch and writes a blog, "True North".

Chris Pam

Chris Pam - Vice President

Chris is an anthropologist and currently teaches in the social sciences at James Cook University and some of her previous research has focused on community understandings of climate change in the Pacific. Chris has been concerned about social justice and environmental issues for many years and is keen to work on climate justice campaigns with others in the North Queensland community.

Dr Alastair Birtles - Vice President

One of the founders of NQCC, Alastair returned to the Management Committee in 2018. He brings with him over forty years of experience in tropical research and over ten years of teaching marine biology and zoology in Great Barrier Reef environments. He has worked as a conservation officer/planner with the Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service and has also worked and taught in the areas of ecotourism, environmental management, integrated coastal zone management and ecologically sustainable tourism.

He is leader of the 20-year Minke Whale Project (conducting field studies since 1996) and other marine wildlife tourism projects; also tourism in protected areas, visitor management, interpretation and Aboriginal tourism – all aimed at enhancing tourist experiences, minimising impacts and developing more ecologically sustainable management practices.

He has worked extensively in developing countries, supervised over 100 Honours and postgraduates from 25 countries and has produced many publications and natural history films.

Tash Henderson

Natasha Henderson - Treasurer

Tash moved to Townsville from Bendigo with her partner in September 2019 and joined our Management Committee in January 2020. She is passionate about the natural environment and says becoming a vegan is the easiest thing she's ever done. With fourteen years of experience in the financial sector, her accounting skills are of great value to our organisation.

Tiffany Bond

Tiffany Bond - Secretary

After moving to Townsville 25 years ago, Tiff grew to love the region, developing a strong connection with all of Townsville’s beautiful natural habitats, including its stunning beaches, creeks and rivers. She is devastated every time she sees these areas polluted with litter, and her heart breaks to think of the damage that it causes to our waterways and wildlife. Because of this she has dedicated herself to the removal and prevention of debris in these areas to ensure that these areas are conserved and protected for future generations to come. She regularly cleans these areas of litter the best she can, occasionally involving her children and friends.

She has also been making a conscious effort to reduce her carbon footprint by changing to a vegan diet and reducing her waste by making small gradual changes to her lifestyle. She does her best to lead by example and inspire others to learn and take the journey towards reduced waste together via social media.

She hopes to utilise her passion for environmental protection and conservation through projects that educate and encourage the community to be more actively involved in conservation and waste management. 

We are excited to welcome her to NQCC and know that her career and life skills will be an asset to the organisation.

General Committee Members

John Connell

John has spent 30 years working with livelihood development projects in southeast Asia, and has a strong commitment to ensuring everyone has a 'fair go'. This work has involved identifying 'entry points' and 'pathways' that engage both smallholder farmers and local government officials in change. These sort of skills might help NQCC in development of new public campaigns.   

Linda Davis

Linda is currently a teacher of science to migrants at Townsville State High School. Background in ecology and marine biology and worked in freshwater ecology for several years. With deep concerns for the state of our terrestrial and marine environments has supported NQCC for many years.

Cam Leitch

Cam has a passion for promoting an ecologically sustainable future for our (one and only) Earth and is particularly interested in working towards reducing our greenhouse emissions and keeping coal in the ground. Cam retired from his job as a structural engineer in 2014 and so he now has more time to devote to his other pursuits, including being an active member of the NQCC Committee which he joined in 2017.

Matthew Garbutt

Matthew Garbutt

Matt has lived In Townsville his whole life and as a young kid began to appreciate the beauty of North Queensland. As he went through high school he realised he needed to do more to ensure that the wonders of the natural environment are not lost for his generation to enjoy and the generations to come. This pathway pushed Matt towards work in environmental advocacy and he is currently studying a Bachelor of Environmental Practice at JCU.

In his free time Matt enjoys skateboarding, making music and drinking beers with his friends. He’s only young, but still keen to learn as much as possible and create some big changes in the future!


NQCC’s task would be harder without the assistance of many other volunteers. If you would like to offer your skills for a short or long term, please click here.

We have a great team of about 20 volunteers who assist with events as they occur. We also want to acknowledge the wonderful contribution of regular volunteers:

Presiding over NQCC’s Public Fund are Sue O'Brien, Mary Vance, Sue Cole and Cam Leitch.

Malcolm Tattersall has been a website/IT volunteer and a photographer at many events since 2014.