AELERT Farewells Chair Monica Collins

Mar 2, 2023

It is with gratitude and well wishes that AELERT National Council members farewelled Chair Monica Collins last week, as she reached the end of her term as Chair.

‘After a rich and rewarding time as Chair of AELERT, I have decided to step down as Chair,’ Monica said.

‘I have absolute faith in our National Council’s abilities and look forward to seeing them continue building AELERT from strength to strength.

‘I wish to thank the Members of AELERT for their support while leading AELERT through such an interesting and transformational period.

‘Our Deputy-Chair, Grant Barnes has agreed to take on the role as interim Chair, while the National Council works through process to fill the position for the longer term. Grant has my full support along with the Leadership Team and our new CEO Gregory Abood.’

Acting Chair of AELERT, Grant Barnes thanked Monica and acknowledged the many positive outcomes of her service to AELERT.

‘The National Council and I are extremely grateful for Monica’s leadership and her significant contribution to AELERT,’ he said.

‘Under Monica’s leadership, AELERT experienced a growth in membership, and a modernisation of key support structures to enable to continued capacity of AELERT to serve its members.

‘It has been a pleasure to work with Monica, and she is well-respected throughout AELERT and our community not only for her strategic insight but her collegiate leadership.

‘Monica led the modernisation of AELERT as a contemporary regulators network, while addressing key strategic risks, and has paved the way for our next exciting phase of consolidating our network and continued delivery of benefits for members.’

Monica has had a long involvement with AELERT. When she joined the Commonwealth Department of Environment in 2016, Monica became the Commonwealth’s jurisdictional representative as Vice-Chair.

As Vice-Chair, she advocated for expanding AELERT Membership into a broader suite of ‘environmental’ regulators, which led to a period of growth for our network into the strong, diverse community of regulators we saw at our conference last year.

Alongside Narelle Sargent, Monica conducted a review of our working groups that support the work of AELERT. Through that review, the Steering Committee agreed to consolidate the groups into two streams: the working groups and communities of practice that are in operation today.

In late 2019, Monica took on the role of acting Chair, and was elected Chair of AELERT in March 2020.

Some highlights include:

  • Hosting the 2020 conference in partnership with INECE: AELERT’s first conference in partnership with our international counterparts. Attended by over 300 delegates from over 30 countries, and held just days before many jurisdictions went into the first covid-19 lockdown.
  • Leading the development of the AELERT 2021-2024 strategy and the 2021-22 annual report.
  • Creating and on-boarding the new executive National Council, which is more representative of the range of member agencies; the new leadership team to drive AELERT’s strategic agenda; and the AELERT CEO function as a key enabler driving connection between our members and our strategic agenda.
  • Overhauling our financial model with the introduction of fee-paying membership to provide sustainable funding for the work of AELERT.
  • Overseeing the development of a web and brand refresh and communications tailored to a digital audience.
  • Introducing a monthly webinar series as an opportunity for members to showcase their work.
  • Delivering the highly successful 2022 AELERT conference in hybrid format.  

‘On behalf of the National Council, I thank Monica for her valuable contribution and wish her all the best with her continued journey as a senior environmental regulator’, said Grant.

‘We look forward to seeing Monica through the AELERT network and to continuing her legacy by working hard and working together for the benefit of AELERT members.’

Monica is currently Acting First Assistant Secretary with the Biosecurity Plant and Science Services Division at the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry, and will continue to be an active member of the AELERT Community.  

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