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WA’s peak conservation group announces new Executive Director


The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) is proud to announce the appointment of Joe Heffernan as the organisation’s new Executive Director.

Joe joins CCWA from Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC where he was the corporation’s CEO. Based previously in the Kimberley region, Joe also worked with the Kimberley Land Council and the Miriuwung Gajerrong (MG) Corporation as a lawyer and economic development advisor and possesses a wealth of experience working in the not-for-profit sector.

Joe spent 12 years with international environmental organisation, Fauna & Flora International (FFI), leading projects in the conservation of Asian and African elephants, as well as establishing FFI’s presence in Australia.  Joe was admitted as a lawyer of the Supreme Court of NSW in 2014, going on to practice charities law at respected national law firm, Gilbert and Tobin.

“It is a pleasure and a privilege to be invited to lead an organisation of CCWA’s importance, profile and history”, said Joe.

“CCWA has been the foremost conservation body for Australia’s largest and most biodiverse state for the past 50 years. Our state spans more than 2.5 million square kilometres of land and 116,000 square kilometres of water. Too much of this is under threat from unmanaged development, unmitigated pollution and ongoing habitat destruction. The scale of the task is daunting but this is vital work.

“Recognising that Indigenous people have managed WA’s lands and waters for thousands of years, it is incumbent on CCWA to work hand in hand with all its partners while reaching out to new ones. Our role must be to steward these invaluable natural assets and continue striving to better enrich WA's landscapes and habitats in an equitable way for those coming after us.”

New CCWA Executive Director, Joe Heffernan: 'a pleasure and a privilege' to lead organisation

Welcoming Joe, CCWA President, James Eggleston, said: “We are very pleased to now have Joe on the team and look forward to continuing our high impact work across the State. CCWA has been undertaking our critical work for over half a century and I think we remain really well placed to deliver positive outcomes.

“We have an enviable team of scientists and economists, alongside policy specialists, field conservationists, experienced communicators, and seasoned campaigners. We’re well supported by strong funding models and retain the buy-in of the WA public.

“CCWA is well known and respected among other conservation and environment groups across Australia – CCWA’s opinion matters and we will continue to be the voice of reason, providing pragmatic, high integrity solutions. That’s a great position to be in and a wonderful platform from which I’m confident that CCWA will go from strength-to-strength with Joe onboard.”

Maggie Wood, who has fulfilled the role of Acting Executive Director for the past 12 months, will now step into a new role as Programs Director, where she will continue to have direct oversight of CCWA’s campaigns, including the high-profile gas, biodiversity, uranium-free and citizen science programs.

James said, “We thank Maggie for taking the reins in leading the organisation in recent months. Her contribution to CCWA during that time has been invaluable and we look forward to benefiting from Maggie having more time to focus on our operational programs and to helping us lead the organisation’s response to the existential environmental challenges currently faced by WA.”




MEDIA INFORMATION: The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) is the state’s foremost non-profit, non-government conservation organisation representing more than 100 environmental organisations across Western Australia. 

For more information, visit:

CONTACT: For any enquiries relating to this release, please contact Robert Davies

08 9420 7291 / 0412 272 570 or by email, [email protected]  

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