Environment and Sustainability Advisory Committee


The aim of ESAC is to enable community members with expertise and experience relating to environment and sustainability to provide advice to Council concerning strategic or policy issues.


  • Provide feedback and advice to Council on environment and sustainability matters including:
    • Climate action
    • Biodiversity and land management
    • Sustainable water management
    • Waste management, pollution and circular economy
  • Consider and provide advice to Council on the development and implementation of its policies, plans and services that impact environment and sustainability.
  • Consider and provide advice on key Government initiatives, programs and reviews.
  • Represent the views and needs of environment and sustainability stakeholder groups within Nillumbik.
  • Assist Council to communicate, consult and engage more effectively with the broader Nillumbik community.
  • Strengthen partnerships with residents, community groups and services in Nillumbik.
  • Contribute to a cycle of continually assessing and improving Nillumbik’s environment and sustainability programs.

Meeting frequency

Committee meetings are held bimonthly - on the third Wednesday of every second month - from 7pm to 9pm at a Council venue, or virtually if required.

Additional sub-committee meetings may be held on an as-needs basis.  

Committee period

The current Committee was appointed for a two-year term which commenced in June 2022.


This Committee is chaired by a Councillor representative who is appointed annually at Councils Extraordinary Meeting held in November.

Find out more about the committee members

The Committee comprises the following representatives endorsed by Council:

  • Cr Ben Ramcharan (Chair)
  • Cr Geoff Paine (Alternate Chair)
Committee member  About 
Malcolm Cock

Malcolm grew up on a Bio Dynamic dairy and beef farm in Lower Plenty and managed a dynamic and successful family stud & commercial beef, sheep and goat farming operations in Buchan and Leongatha, Gippsland. Malcolm is an agricultural consultant, now based in Eltham.

Malcolm’s experience includes: 

  • Private consulting to mainstream and lifestyle clients
  • Agriculture Victoria BetterBeef extension program coordinator and specialist
  • Worked in the development and practice of other MLA & Agriculture Victoria ‘best practice’ extension programs
  • Developed and delivered marketing modules for NMIT: Diploma of Organic Agriculture
  • Delivered numerous workshops particularly in: Total farm & stock management
  • Involved in various industry groups including gold member of LandCare
  • Contributor to the Box Hill Institute’s diploma and advance diploma in Agri Tourism
  • Monitor in the Drought Resilience Leaders Mentoring program and others
Doug Evans

Doug is the Co-founder and Chair of the Christmas Hills Landcare Group that formed in 2006 to support local landholders to care for their land and the environment in Christmas Hills.

Doug is also a member of the Nillumbik Natural Environment Recovery Working Group formed in response to the 2009 bushfires and the forerunner of the Nillumbik Landcare Network that formed in 2013 and the Co-founder of Greenlink Sandbelt Indigenous Nursery that formed in 1992 and Chair for its first ten years of operation.

Doug is a Strategic Environmental Planner (current) and Environment Officer (previously) in local government. Past work also includes various roles supporting Landcare and Sustainable Agriculture during 15 years at the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority.

Co-author of “Indigenous Plants of the Sandbelt: a Gardening Guide for South-eastern Melbourne” published in 1992.

Andrew McMahon

Andrew McMahon is a professional ecologist with over 40 years' experience. He and wife Pam have lived in the Bend of Islands for 13 years and previously in Christmas Hills for some 30 years.

Andrew’s career includes five years of postgraduate research in fire ecology and 35 years as founding director (along with the eminent botanist Geoff Carr) and principal ecologist of the consultancy Ecology Australia P/L. He has worked extensively across most environments in SE Australia, and at a local scale has observed our changing habitats for decades. He is currently involved with private research on climate related impacts.

Kahn Franke

Kahn is a long-term resident of Eltham/Nillumbik Shires living in Smiths Gully.

Khan and his wife ran Wyeena Nurseries, a wholesale native and indigenous plant nursery until their retirement. Kahn's community involvement has been ongoing, from local school councils, 50 years with the local CFA, representing the community on many Council Advisory Committees and an ongoing commitment to local and state planning issues through the local Green Wedge Protection Group and the Melbourne wide Green Wedges Coalition.

Kahn's horticultural education and career has given him great insight into Nillumbik’s amazing biodiversity and the pressures, including climate change, that impact the precious environment we live in.

Kahn's passion for the Green Wedge and the communities living within it has been the driving force behind his involvement in protecting and securing our future

Vasundhara Kandpa

Being really passionate about the environment, Vasundhara did her higher education in Environmental science. She pursued graduation in Zoology honours, Masters in Environmental Management and Doctorate in Forest Ecology and Environment. Her doctorate was a pioneer study conducted in a remote part of ‘Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve’, a World Heritage Site in the Greater Himalayan Region, India.

Vasundhara has worked on many projects at international locations - India, Srilanka, USA and Australia. In India she has worked on projects such as "Carbon sequestration in Reneuka Forest Division”, “Socio-economic evaluation of relocated communities in Corbett Tiger Reserve” “Biodiversity Impact Assessment of Rio Tinto Mining Site, Madhya Pradesh” as Project Researcher. In Sri Lanka, she worked at IUCN on a project “Evaluation and monitoring of restored limestone quarry site, Puttalam” as Project Associate. In the US, she worked at Carnegie’s Department of Global Ecology on "lmpact of climate change on global vegetation" project and in several conservation projects at Stanford University as Conservation Technician. 

Vasundhara has founded Green Karma, an environmental charity that builds awareness and empower communities to reduce their environmental footprint. Green Karma run community-empowering projects in collaboration with other organisations and local community groups. 

Kate McCracken

Kate moved to leafy North Warrandyte almost ten years ago. She grew up in bushland in the Alpine Shire in a house made primarily of reused and locally sourced products.

Kate is a local primary school teacher with university studies in Environmental Management and Information Technology. These passions lead her to purchase her first electric vehicle (EV) over two years ago and she is a strong promoter of their use and their benefits to the environment.

Kate volunteers with Clean Energy Nillumbik (CEN), primarily focussing on the use of household EVs and charging infrastructure. She works with the CEN team to promote bulk buys of efficient electric appliances and is working towards a community battery hub.  As part of this work, Kate is involved in EV expos where community members can see a large range of EVs in once place and talk to owners about their experiences.

Kate has run a number of Clean Up Australia events locally, including on the Yarra River with Kirinari Kayak Club as their Sustainability Officer.

This is Kate’s first term with ESAC and she hopes to make a difference to the amount of carbon that is emitted in the Shire.

Sue Rosenhain

As a public health professional who has worked in health promotion for over twenty-five years Sue is concerned about the impact of climate change on health, including the emerging realisation of the mental health impacts for all age groups.

Sue has experience working with a range of sectors and partners, including Local Government, to promote health and hopes to contribute her public health expertise to the ESAC.

As a local resident, Sue is concerned about the loss of green space and biodiversity across Nillumbik and the impact this has locally and more widely. She nominated for ESAC in order to contribute to making a difference in our unique Green Wedge Shire.

Alan Thatcher

Alan has a BSc (Hons) from the University of Adelaide majoring in botany, MSc from Queensland University majoring in terrestrial ecology, and a Graduate Diploma in Environment and Planning with Distinction from RMIT University concentrating on land use planning. Alan’s Masters was a research project working on rehabilitation after sandmining on North Stradbroke Island just off the coast from Brisbane in Queensland.

Alan worked for 23 years in the Victorian State Government on natural resource management on private land at both a State and National level and from 1998 until he retired in 2014. Alan’s work on land use planning was mostly with local government in peri-urban Melbourne and rural areas.

Most recently Alan has been involved in the formation of Friends of Edendale Community Environmental Farm and the initiation of the Edendale Diamond Creek Community Revegetation Project.

Lynlee Tozer

Lynlee has a longstanding commitment to Nillumbik, its community, natural environment and landscapes. She has a BSc (hon) and extensive professional experience in biodiversity and land management, and knowledge of climate resilience in natural ecosystems.

Lynlee has worked with Trust for Nature, as a biodiversity officer in local government, and as a university lecturer in the fields of ecology, weed management, sustainable land use and plant identification.  She has also been involved in many local community groups, including Smiths Gully Landcare, Friends of Panton Hill Bushland Reserves, Friends of Nillumbik, Green Wedge Protection Group and the Panton Hill CFA.

John Huf

John has lived in Eltham South since early 1970s and now lives on a seven-acre bushland property in Research.

John is interested in environmental restoration; biodiversity conservation and adjustment to climate change; bushfire mitigation and habitat alignment; industry innovations in recycling and circular economy.

Following a longstanding career with the postal service, John retired as senior executive Australia Post National Headquarters. John has a background in corporate and strategic planning and policy development, change management, project management and operational management.                              

John’s community involvement includes involvement in Landcare (including former Nillumbik Landcare Network) and Community Fireguard, member of the Research Fire Brigade - responsible for CFA community engagement programs. John is a former President Eltham High School Council and Eltham Junior Football Club and former accredited AFL coach of junior representative teams - Diamond Valley Football League.

John has also been a member of various Council committees including the Recreation Trails Advisory Committee, Environment Advisory Committee/Environment and Sustainability Advisory Committee, Green Wedge Management Plan Community Advisory Group, and Nillumbik Gardens for Wildlife Steering Committee.

Fieke van der Kamp

Fieke lives in Diamond Creek. Fieke is passionate about the environment and reversing climate change, and also about allowing others to find, do, and have access to what they are passionate about, whether it be art, music, drama, sport, nature. Whatever it may be, because Fieke believes that the most beautiful things happen when people do what they are passionate about.

Fieke enjoys public speaking and is excited to represent the Youth Council and speak about the ideas they come up with, so the Youth Council can really express and make an impact, and be the change we want to see in the world!

Anne-Marie King


The Agenda for the next Committee meeting is uploaded one week prior to the meeting date. 


Minutes from each Committee meeting are confirmed at the next meeting of the Committee.