On 20 February 2017, the Australian Government announced the appointment of the CRCNA Board members.

Ms Sheriden Morris, Chair

BAppSc (Hons), Agronomy/ Horticulture,  GAICD

Sheriden is currently the Managing Director and Company Secretary of the Cairns-based non-profit Reef and Rainforest Research Centre (RRRC) and Deputy Chair of Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef.

Sheriden has extensive experience in environmental research and monitoring management, aquaculture development, agricultural science and agronomy in the sugar cane and banana industries of Far North Queensland and served as a Director of Wetland Care Australia and has previously worked with CSIRO and GBRMPA.

As an extensive contributor to land and sea management policy, Sheriden has also spearheaded the development and implementation of an innovative aid development programme on Australia’s northern borderlands with Papua New Guinea.

Board term: 2017-2022

Mr Don McDonald AM OBE, Deputy Chair

Don is the Chair of MHD Pty Ltd—a family owned beef cattle operation in Cloncurry in north-west Queensland. Don has previously held Board positions with the Australian Agricultural Company Ltd, Queensland Industry Development Corporation, Kidson Gold Mines Ltd, CSIRO, ATEC Rail Group and the Queensland Royal Flying Doctors.

Don is recognised nationally for his commitment to regional issues. In 1988 he was awarded an OBE for his services to the community, in 2001 Don was awarded a Centenary Medal, and then in 2006 he was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia Award.

Board term: 2017-2019

Cr John Wharton AM

Councillor John Wharton AM is Mayor of the Richmond Shire Council. He received a Member of the Order of Australia Award and Centenary Medal for his service to the community of North-West Queensland and local government. He is the Director of his own company, Wharton & Co Pty Ltd and is a registered Real Estate Agent.

John is recognised nationally for his commitment to community service through  local government, regional development, natural resource management and primary industry organisations. In 2007 he was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia Award for his service to the community of north-west Queensland. He also received the Centenary Medal for distinguished service to local government.

Board term: 2017- 2021

Cr Peter Long

BE (Hons), BA, BSc(EnvSc), CPEng (1982-2012), CEnvP, GAICD, FIEAust

Peter is Mayor of the City of Karratha. A professional engineer and environmental scientist, Peter has instigated and managed a range of businesses in the environmental and engineering fields and has served on several Boards including the West Pilbara Institute, St Luke’s Collage (Chair), Biosequest Australia and Worley Astron (Chair).

Board term: 2017-2022

Ms Tracey Hayes


Tracey has a strong business development background with considerable Asian engagement experience. She is an experienced Chief Executive Officer/Director/Board Member/Chair with a demonstrated history of working in the agriculture sector at a local, national and international level.

Tracey is a council member of the Order of Australia Honours Council and serves as a Director on the Board of the Australia Indonesia Institute and as Chair of the Darwin Waterfront Corporation. She is currently studying her Global Executive Master of Business at the University of Sydney Business School.

Board term: 2017 -2020

Mr John Bearne

AdvDipEng, FAICD, Registered Builder QLD

John has substantial experience as Chair and Director of numerous commercial and not-for-profit organisations including Townsville Hospital Health Service (Chair), Tropical Health Academic Research Centre (Chair), the Jezzine Barracks Community Trust (Director), the Australian Technical College of North Queensland (Director) and Yumba Meta (Director). He is a Member of the Townsville Health Research Ethics Committee, was formerly the President of the Townsville Chamber of Commerce and is a Life Member of Townsville Enterprise Ltd.

Board term: 2017 -2019

Ms Melissa George

Melissa is a Wulgurukaba Traditional Owner with traditional connections to Magnetic Island and the greater Townsville region and  is actively involved in protecting and managing land and sea through the empowerment of Traditional Owners’ cultural law and obligations to care for country.

Melissa has previously worked as the Chief Executive Officer of the North Australia Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA) and served as a Director of the Great Barrier Reef Management Park Authority Board and Bush Heritage Australia and continues to work as a Ministerial advisor for the Federal Government on environmental and Indigenous issues.

Board term: 2017-2021