Governance Advisory Board

Drew Clarke AO PSM FTSE


Mr Clarke is an experienced Board Director with a background in public policy and administration.  His 40 years in the Australian Public Service encompassed leadership of applied science agencies, industry innovation programs, data policy, energy policy and technology programs, and terms as Secretary of the Department of Resources and Energy and Secretary of the Department of Communications.  He is currently Chair of the Australian Energy Market Operator Ltd, a Director of the national science agency CSIRO and a Director of the national broadband company NBNCo.  He also has several advisory roles in energy research and technology.

Drew began his public sector career working as a surveyor in Australia and Antarctica.  His Antarctic experience includes fieldwork in Enderby Land, chairing the SCAR Working Group on Geodesy and Geographic Information, and leading policy reviews on Antarctic data management and science governance.  He has a Master of Science from The Ohio State University, is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, and a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  In 2016 Mr Clarke was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia for distinguished service to public administration.

Nancy Bertler

ISAP Chair | VUW & GNS New Zealand

Victoria University of Wellington / Antarctic Research Centre | National Ice Core Research Laboratory / GNS Science | Antarctic Science Platform / Antarctica New Zealand

Prof. Nancy Bertler has led 13 major field campaigns to investigate past change using Antarctic ice cores, including the 9-nation Roosevelt Island Climate Evolution Programme (RICE). She is an Associate Professor at the Antarctic Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington, a Principal Scientist at GNS Science, and the Director of the Antarctic Science Platform at Antarctica New Zealand.

Internationally, Nancy served as the inaugural chair of AntarcticClimate21 research programme of the Scientific Committee of Antarctic Research (SCAR) to improve 21st Century projections for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. She leads New Zealand’s National Ice Core Research Laboratory and is a member of the ‘Melt Ice and Rising Seas’ team that was awarded the 2019 Prime Minister’s Science Prize.

Andrew Grant

Tasman Environmental Investments

Executive Chairman, Tasman Environmental Markets

Andrew is widely recognised as a carbon market leader, having pioneered much of the development of carbon markets in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. Andrew is an award-winning entrepreneur (winning the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the year – Cleantech) and being rated within the top ten industry leaders for carbon markets including the top 50 most influential international sustainability leaders. Andrew co-founded the establishment of Tasman Environmental Markets (TEM) in 2014 which has grown to become the leading voluntary market service provider in Australasia with active expansion into broader international markets.

TEM is also a significant carbon project development company with a suite of projects across the natural resources sector. Andrew is a leading authority on nature conservation and its intersection with carbon markets. Andrew is a highly experienced Board member having held a range of roles as Chairman and Director with Government Agencies, Research Centres, Not for Profits and Listed Public companies.

Ben Playle


Ben Playle is Assistant Secretary of the Sanctions, Crime and Sea Law Branch in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra.

Overseas, Mr Playle has served as Deputy High Commissioner at the Australian High Commission in Pretoria from 2015 to 2018, Liaison Officer for the Khmer Rouge Trials in the United Nations Secretariat in New York and Phnom Penh from 2010 to 2011, and First Secretary and Legal Adviser at the Australian Mission to the United Nations in New York from 2004 to 2007.

In Canberra, he has previously served in a variety of roles in the Legal Division, North Asia Division and South-East Asia Division of the Department.

Mr Playle joined the Department in 2001.  He holds a Master of Law from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Cambridge Australia Scholar.

Jane Rumble OBE FRGS


Jodie Smith

GA | SAEF EMCR Representative

Dr Jodie Smith is an environmental scientist with experience in marine and coastal environments spanning the entire continent from the tropical north, temperate south and Antarctica.

Jodie studied at UNSW, completing an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and a PhD in geochemistry in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences. She joined Geoscience Australia in 2004. Her initial focus was on estuarine biogeochemistry and she led Geoscience Australia’s contributions to the Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge (TRaCK) program. Jodie also worked as a volunteer water quality specialist in Vietnam for 12 months.

Jodie joined the Antarctic Geoscience team in 2010. Her research involves mapping and understanding the physical seafloor environment around the Antarctic margin, including bathymetry, geomorphic features, sediment characteristics and benthic habitats. Her work spans from the shallow coastal waters to the continental shelf and slope and into the deep ocean. Jodie collaborates with scientists across multiple disciplines, both in Australia and internationally and ensures high-quality seafloor data is publicly available to support scientific, strategic and operational applications.

Jodie is the Australian representative on the Antarctic Seismic Data Library System, the International Bathymetry Chart of the Southern Ocean (IBCSO) Expert Group and the Seabed 2030 Southern Ocean Regional Mapping Board.

As a government scientist, Jodie has a thorough understanding of Australia’s Antarctic strategic and science priorities. She advises Geoscience Australia’s executives on Antarctic matters and works closely with the Australian Antarctic Division to support Australia’s national interests in Antarctica. Jodie has represented the Australian government and Geoscience Australia at several high-level forums, including at parliamentary hearings and as part of the Australian Government delegation to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings in 2019.

Jodie is a Partner Investigator in the Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future (SAEF) research program. She is the Geoscience Australia node lead on the Program Executive Group and the early-mid career representative on the Governance Advisory Board.

Nicole Webster


Chief Scientist, Australian Antarctic Division

Dr Nicole Webster obtained her PhD in marine microbiology from James Cook University in 2001, studying how microorganisms contribute to the health of coral reef invertebrates. Moving from the tropics to the poles, Nicole’s postdoctoral research was undertaken at the University of Canterbury, investigating the utility of microbes as biomarkers for environmental stress in the Ross Sea, Antarctica.

In 2005, Nicole commenced a role as research scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and in 2017 commenced a joint appointment as Professor at the Australian Centre for Ecogenomics, University of Qld. Throughout her research career, Nicole has employed experimental and field-based ecological research combined with metagenomic, metatranscriptomic and advanced imaging approaches to uncover the contributions of microscopic life to the health, survival and adaptation of marine species. Nicole also has a strong focus on translating fundamental research outcomes into strategic tools for coral reef management.

In 2021, with an ever-growing desire to play a greater role in positioning science at the forefront of society’s decision-making, Nicole commenced as Chief Scientist for the Australian Antarctic Division where she is looking forward to developing the innovative and collaborative pathways needed to improve our understanding, management and conservation of this wild and fragile ecosystem.

Steven Chown FAA

Monash University

SAEF Director ex officio

Jodie Weller

Monash University

SAEF Program Manager and Board Secretary