Nicola Rivers, Co-CEO

Nicola has worked with Environmental Justice Australia for over a decade as Director of Advocacy and Research, working to improve environmental laws. She led EJA’s clean air campaign which saw her engage with grassroots environment groups and local communities around Australia to protect our right to clean air. She has also led our federal and state advocacy work on a range of issues such as climate and water law, and national biodiversity laws. Prior to joining EJA, she worked as a senior lawyer in federal and state governments. Nicola is a Fellow of the Centre for Sustainability Leadership and holds a Masters in Environmental Management.

Elizabeth McKinnon, Co-CEO

Elizabeth McKinnon is an experienced environmental lawyer with a passion for using litigation to create change. After a stint in private practice, Elizabeth moved to Environment Defenders Office Victoria where she was a public interest environmental litigator. Most recently, she has been in the role of General Counsel at the Australian Conservation Foundation, where she led ACF in Federal Court litigation to Stop Adani as well as advising across a range of operational and governance issues. Elizabeth has also been the Chairperson of Environment Victoria, Victoria’s peak environment body, and sits on the editorial panel of the Australian Environment Review. Overall she has 14 years of experience using the law as a tool for change in the Australian environment and climate movements.

Thea Lange, Chief Operating Officer

Thea joined the Board of EJA in 2012, then transitioned into the newly-created Chief Operating Officer role in 2017. Prior to joining EJA, Thea worked as a lawyer, then as an environmental consultant in contaminated land site assessment and environmental audit, before joining Deloitte in their consulting team. Her experience at Deloitte in both Australia and the UK working with large corporates to improve business operations and processes was invaluable, but she is glad to be at EJA working to support and sustain the environment’s legal team. Thea holds a combined Bachelor of Environmental Engineering (Hons) / Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Melbourne and has been admitted to practice in Victoria.

Bruce Lindsay, Senior Lawyer

Lawyer Bruce researches and writes on topics from environmental offsets, water law and native vegetation clearing. He also engages with community members and stakeholders on our campaigns, and leads our Yarra River Protection Act campaign. As well as his law degree, Bruce holds a PhD in Administrative Law, a BA (Hons) in Political Science & Government, and a Masters of Environmental Science. He has previously worked as a student advocate, a project officer at Trust for Nature and a lecturer in Law at Deakin University.

Nick Witherow, Principal Lawyer

Nick began his professional life as an ecological consultant conducting vegetation assessments throughout South East Victoria. After obtaining his law degree in 2011 Nick  worked in private practice until joining EJA in 2018. As an environmental lawyer at EJA Nick works on litigation on the impacts of climate change and emissions from coal power stations. Nick also provides Victorian communities with advice and representation on matters with regional, state or national significance. Nick holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from Monash University and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Honours) from Melbourne University.

Hollie Kerwin, Senior Climate Specialist Lawyer

Hollie is a senior specialist lawyer working with people and communities to address the climate crisis. She is an experienced litigator and advocate, having worked at the Human Rights Law Centre and Victoria Legal Aid on strategic litigation and campaigns for legal change including in response to Robodebt, in support of the rights of people with disabilities, people seeking asylum, and on behalf of communities in Bougainville calling for the clean-up of Rio Tinto’s abandoned mining operations. Prior to this, Hollie was an advisor and litigator for the Victorian government and a Federal Court Associate. She has been published and speaks on administrative law, women and the law, the reform of Australian Royal Commissions and converting test case success into everyday change. She has received multiple awards including the Blackburn medal for research in law and the Thomas Richards prize for administrative law.

Danya Jacobs, Senior Lawyer

Danya is a senior lawyer working on biodiversity and nature protection, with a focus on public land, forests and threatened species. In 2019, she was awarded the Law Council of Australia’s Mahla Pearlman Young Environmental Lawyer of the Year. Her legal practice includes eight years litigating on behalf of community groups in State and Federal Courts against government entities and corporations. She has previously practiced in contractual disputes, defamation and intellectual property. Danya regularly advises and appears for environment groups, from local community groups to large non-government organisations. She also acts in criminal law matters for individuals charged while protesting against logging in Victoria’s native forests. Danya holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Arts (Geography). Before coming to the law, Danya worked for environment and human rights organisations in Australia and overseas.

Bronya Lipski, Lawyer

Bronya’s work as an environmental lawyer focusses on pollution and environmental public interest advocacy. Born and raised in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, she is passionate about legal empowerment of the community and has a diverse background that includes activism, youth work and filmmaking. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons).

Emily Giblin, Lawyer

Emily Giblin is a lawyer working on nature protection matters, with a focus on forests and threatened species. Before joining EJA, Emily practiced public interest law in the community legal sector in the UK and Queensland. She has also previously worked for several years in commercial litigation in private practice. At EJA, Emily works for community groups on civil litigation matters in the Supreme and Federal Courts. She also acts for individuals charged while protesting against native forest logging. Emily holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Arts from Monash University.

Jocelyn McGarity, Lawyer

Jocelyn lives in Newcastle and works in the Coal Pollution Program to protect communities and the environment impacted by pollution. She supports communities across Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter by giving legal advice, strategising litigation opportunities and assisting with community campaigns and law reform. Prior to joining the team Jocelyn worked for the NSW government, predominantly prosecuting environmental crime including in the NSW Land and Environment Court and, before that, as a State strategic and statutory planning officer. As a former volunteer at the Environmental Defender’s Office as well as other public interest community legal centres, Jocelyn is a strong advocate for access to environmental and social justice. She holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Science.

Virginia Trescowthick, Lawyer

Virginia Trescowthick works with environmental groups and local communities across Victoria, providing advice and representation to safeguard health, protect nature and tackle climate change. Prior to joining the team, Virginia worked as a lawyer in private practice, as a judge’s associate in the County Court of Victoria and as an adviser in the Victorian State Government. Virginia holds a Juris Doctor from the Australian National University and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of Melbourne.

Elke Nicholson, Lawyer

Elke’s work as an environmental lawyer is focussed on protecting Victoria’s waterways under the Rivers Project at EJA. She previously worked in personal injury law, primarily representing survivors of institutional child abuse. Elke holds a Juris Doctor degree from Monash University and a Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies) from the University of Newcastle. She is a member of Melbourne Activists Legal Support and the Australian Lawyers Alliance. Before starting a career in law, Elke worked on adventure-based youth development programs across NSW and QLD. She has a long-standing interest in social and environmental justice.

Sasha Brady, Paralegal

As paralegal, Sasha assists in the delivery of legal services through offering legal and administrative support to the lawyers at EJA. Sasha completed her Bachelor of Law (Hons) and Arts at Monash University in 2020 and is currently undertaking the Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice. Prior to working at EJA Sasha worked at the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, and was Vice-President and Treasurer of the Progressive Law Network. She has also worked as a legal intern at Gur A Baradharaw Kod Torres Strait Sea and Land Council (GBK) on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait. Sasha is passionate about pursuing a career in public interest law. In her free time she loves reading, hiking and collecting an unsustainable amount of houseplants.

Rahul Ramesh, Law Graduate

Rahul is a Law Graduate working in the climate change team, after previously volunteering with EJA at multiple points throughout his studies. Prior to working at EJA, he was an inaugural legal placement student at Monash University’s Climate Justice Clinic, where he contributed to legal interventions to mitigate climate change. Rahul was also awarded a scholarship to attend the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid, where he co-founded an initiative which aims to better connect Australian youth with DFAT negotiators and international climate processes. Rahul holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) from Monash University. Outside work he loves reading fiction, teaching and entering jam-making competitions.

Mandy Johnson, Office Manager and Publications

Mandy Johnson keeps the office running and ensures our publications speak directly to people who need to understand legal issues in protecting the environment. Mandy has been working with not-for-profit organisations since 1996, principally environmental. Before starting with EJA in 2005, Mandy worked for a firm providing legal and consulting services tailored for not-for-profits. She previously spent seven years at one of Australia’s largest national conservation organisations, BirdLife Australia, including three years as Supporter Services Manager. Mandy holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing. She is an Accredited Editor with the Institute of Professional Editors, one of only 311 nationally. Outside work Mandy enjoys a spot of camping.

Max Smith, Campaigner

Max is the new campaigner in our Clean Air team. Max has joined us from the Australian Conservation Foundation, where he was a community organiser working to #StopAdani and #Repower Australia with clean energy. Before that, Max worked in various capacities as a campaign organiser. Max has a law degree, and volunteered at the EDO back in 2012/13, but he’s never been admitted to practice as a lawyer. He preferred the idea of being a grassroots campaigner! Max is a graduate of the Change Agency’s Community Organising Fellowship and a holds post-graduate qualification in community advocacy.

Livia Cullen, Communications Director

Livia is a communications and community engagement specialist with a background in environmental and human rights campaigns. She has worked for Amnesty International and the Australian Conservation Foundation and is the former Director of the Environmental Film Festival Australia. Livia has a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Media and Communications. She is passionate about using the power of storytelling to create social change and has a special talent for turning jargon into powerful and engaging stories. Whether it’s a huge petition, a media-grabbing stunt or a giant people’s march, she has moved thousands of people to act on social justice issues.

Greer Allen, Development Manager

Greer started fundraising because she wanted social and environmental movements to be well resourced and widely supported. With over eights years of fundraising and philanthropy experience, she has a passion for building strong relationships with donors and sharing the impact of their support. Before joining the team, Greer managed carbon reduction projects in local government, taught in remote Indigenous communities, and built bicycle-powered generators for outdoor cinemas and live events. She studied at the University of Newcastle, majoring in Human Geography and Economics.

Georgia Rowles, Digital Marketing and Data Coordinator

Georgia is responsible for coordinating EJA’s digital communications and data. Georgia has previously worked at the Australian Youth Climate Coalition – Australia’s largest youth-led organisation campaigning for climate justice – as well as the Climate Council and the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival. Growing up in Mt Macedon with a love of hiking and the outdoors has led Georgia to devote her professional life to preserving our environment.

Alexandra Valerio, Volunteer

Alexandra has been volunteering as a paralegal at EJA since 2019. She is currently completing her final year of her Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Science at Deakin University, while writing a thesis in international climate law for her Honours in Law. Prior to volunteering with EJA, Alexandra has volunteered as a paralegal for Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and Peninsula Community Legal Centre. Outside volunteering, Alexandra works as an outdoor instructor with school students, where she teaches outdoor education through hiking, rock climbing, snorkelling/diving and white water rafting across various locations in Victoria. Her love for outdoor education stemmed her passion for environmental justice and she aspires to work in environmental law when she graduates from university.

Anvita Nair, Volunteer

Anvita completed an internship at EJA in February 2021 and has been volunteering since. She studies at Monash University, currently in her penultimate year of her Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Politics and International Relations. She has a keen interest in public policy and public interest law, and hopes to work in this area upon graduation. She values community-facing work and is passionate about environmental and social justice. Throughout her studies she has volunteered extensively, being involved in the Monash Student Association as Queer Officer, Culture Editor of Lot’s Wife magazine, and Convenor of Monash Future Thinkers. Outside of university she enjoys live music, being outdoors and has a passion for health and fitness.

Monika, Volunteer

Monika is completing a Juris Doctor degree at Macquarie University, with a major in social justice including; environmental planning law, climate change law, international environmental law, and international human rights law. Her background includes supplier relationship management roles in corporate and within government, across Australia and Scandinavia. Outside of work Monika loves stand-up paddling in the bay and running.

Rashini Perera, Volunteer

Rashini is a final years Laws/Biomedical Science student at Monash University. She is passionate about protecting the natural environment, and after being a part of the Climate Justice Clinic at her university, she understood how important the law can be in this area. She also currently works at an environment and planning law firm, and helps Friends of the Earth Melbourne with legal research as a volunteer. Aside from her studies and work, Rashini loves tending to her many house plants.