MEL Barker is the new chief executive officer of Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Foundation.
The biosphere’s chair, Jo McCoy, said Ms Barker’s appointment was a “significant milestone in the evolution of the organisation” which wants “innovative approaches to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the Mornington Peninsula and Western Port region”.
“Mel brings an extraordinary depth of knowledge, experience and networks to our organisation,” Ms McCoy said. “We are confident that she will provide great leadership to help ensure the biosphere is a trusted provider of evidence-based scientific programs and advocacy for the environmentally sensitive region centred on Western Port bay.”
Ms Barker has previously held management and executive roles on environmental issues for the state government, provided “private sector business consulting” and been a volunteer board committee member for not-for-profit groups.
Her qualifications include a master’s degree in environment (Melbourne University) and Bachelor of Information Science (Adelaide University).
“Along with hundreds of thousands of other Victorians, I am fortunate to live within the Western Port biosphere and enjoy the incredible natural surroundings and biodiversity it has to offer,” Ms Barker said.
“This is an exciting and challenging time to be joining the biosphere. The Western Port biosphere covers 2142 square kilometres and is made up of five local government areas and French Island. Its council regions are among the fastest-growing in Australia. While that brings renewal and energy to communities in the region, it places enormous stresses on the natural environment.”
Ms Barker was “looking forward to working with the biosphere team and board and collaborating and partnering” with Mornington Peninsula, Frankston, Bass Coast, Cardinia and Casey municipalities, federal and state governments, and community groups “to build a prosperous future in harmony with our unique environment”.
Ms Barker replaces former executive officer, Greg Hunt (“Birds and walks a reason to retire” The News 3/5/21).