There’s never been a better time to get into online learning than while we're all in COVID-19 lockdown. Thanks to the variety of knowledge sharing and capacity building at our recent conference, AELERT has you covered. You can now access recorded presentations online at any time, simply logon with your member details here: www.aelert.net/resource/view/577
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It is with great pleasure that the AELERT Steering Committee and Secretariat welcome Monica Collins into the role of Chair. Monica works as the Assistant Secretary for the Environment Compliance Branch, in the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Monica has been the AELERT Vice-Chair for the past three years and has been acting as the Chair for the last 5 months.
Monica was a great support to the Secretariat in the lead up to and during the recent joint conference with INECE. Her guidance has been invaluable to the AELERT network so far and will further guide us over the coming years.
Monica Collins joined the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy as Head of the Environment Compliance Branch in 2016. In this role Monica has transformed the Department’s approach to compliance, implementing a risk-based and intelligence led model with a focus on delivering environmental outcomes through a broad range of compliance tools. Under this new model, the team has a proud track record of sensible compliance outcomes, from criminal and civil prosecutions, through to working with regulatory partners to improve voluntary compliance in response to emerging compliance risks.
Monica most recently worked with the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage and has more than 25 years’ experience working in the environment and natural resources management sector.
Monica has worked in environmental regulation, compliance and enforcement, community engagement, and environmental program delivery roles, including in the Murray-Darling Basin, biodiversity and threatened species programs, environmental impact assessment, kangaroo management, floodplain and coastal erosion management, forestry regulation, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. Monica also brings significant experience in managing regulatory reform and change management.
“It is an honour and a privilege to take on the role of AELERT Chair! I am looking forward to continuing the great work of AELERT through the Steering Committee, our Working Groups and Communities of Practice. I want to take the time to recognise that all of these members volunteer their time and expertise to this great network.
“I am passionate about capability building and collaborating amongst regulators to enhance the environmental outcomes we are tasked with delivering, and to work together to solve emerging issues. Over the past few years I have seen the level of engagement increasing significantly across the AELERT network, and this is what AELERT is all about.
“I extend a big thank you to our out-going Chair Mark Gifford who has been actively involved with the AELERT for over ten years and has certainly helped drive the network to where it is today. Mark is a passionate regulator and I have no doubt we will continue to see him involved with AELERT”.
The AELERT biannual conference recently took place from 10-13 March 2020 in sunny Adelaide, SA and we are happy to report that it was a great success. The conference has always been a unique opportunity to come together and share experiences, knowledge and expertise. Partnering with INECE this year broadened the opportunity across the international community to cooperate and build capacity in ways that are rarely possible for environmental regulators.
Our main objective was to learn from each other by sharing best practice and innovation as well as hearing views from countries in different stages of development. Around 20% of our audience were international delegates, flying in from countries such as Thailand and Morocco. In total we had over 330 delegates with representation from over 30 countries – not bad considering the battle against bushfires and early emergence of COVID-19 in the lead up to the conference! Our Buddy Scheme connected many of our international guests with AELERT members as a way of welcoming each other and to start conversations that we hope reached beyond the limits of our conference.
The three INECE courses on offer provided delegates with an opportunity to refresh their thinking on performance measurements and exposure to new and innovative approaches in environmental compliance. We also held a series of workshops including one from the popular Intelligence and Analysis Community of Practice. Highlights from a few jam-packed days included a session on ‘Being a Modern Regulator’, a round table discussion between the Superintendency of Environment Chile and the Flemish High Enforcement Council and multiple presentations on ‘Engaging the Public and Community Involvement’.
We finished up with a powerful closing from Brian Gilligan, an environmental regulator with over 50 years’ experience as a public servant. Brian left our audience challenged with his presentation ‘Regulation and Public Service in an Era of Policy Dysfunction’. Take a look at the full presentation and view his report here.
A wide range of abstract submissions to participate in the conference were received, including topics on wildlife, biodiversity and conservation, waste, pollution, marine environment, biosecurity, climate change and much more, at all levels of government and across a range of agencies. It was this variety of practice areas that enabled us to strike a balance between technical and operational topics and broader policy and strategic discussions in the conference program. We extend our thanks to all of those that submitted an abstract and everyone that participated in our conference.
Of course, we also had a lot of help putting the conference together and our volunteer working groups also deserve a big shout out for dedicating their time and assisting in every way they could. A special thanks to AELERT members; Alice Turnbull, Amiette Wakenshaw, Belinda Walker, Hanna Kogelman, Heike Eberhard, Paul Newell, Robert Deves, Stuart Cowie, Kieran Lynch, Heidi Ward and Kevin Rowley, as well as our Community of Practice Chairs for all of your contributions.
Our next conference is due to take place in Perth, WA in 2022 – although this years’ will be a tough one to beat!