Board, governance, policies & procurement
Zoos Victoria is a statutory authority, governed by the Zoological Parks and Gardens Board.
Learn more about the Zoological Parks and Gardens Act 1995, our board and the policies which Zoos Victoria adheres to.
The Zoological Parks & Gardens Act 1995
The Zoological Parks and Gardens Act 1995 (version incorporating Amendments as at 5 April 2005) aims to:
- Conserve, protect, manage and improve the zoological parks and managed land and the zoological collections
- Promote and increase public enjoyment of the zoological collections, zoological parks and managed land
- Increase public knowledge and awareness of the zoological collections and the zoological parks through publications, educational programs and advisory services and other activities
- Carry out an promote zoological research, the conservation of wildlife and natural habitats and the maintenance of biodiversity
The Werribee Zoological Park (now known as Werribee Open Range Zoo) was established by the board in December 1975 and opened to the public in September 1983.
Healesville Sanctuary (originally The Sir Colin MacKenzie Zoological Park) was placed under the management of the Zoological Board on 27 June 1978.
Zoos Victoria's Board
The Zoological Parks and Gardens Board is our governing body.
Established in 1973 as a statutory authority, the board’s role is to protect and promote our zoos and their roles in conservation, research and education. We operate under the Zoological Parks and Gardens Act 1995.
The board is appointed by the Victorian Minister for Environment and Climate Change.
Ms Kate Vinot
Kate was appointed Chair of Zoos Victoria in July 2018. She brings extensive Board and executive leadership experience to the role. Her particular expertise is in strategy and risk management in organisations where excellence in environmental management and community engagement are key for business success, and where addressing the risks from climate change is paramount. Kate is also on the Board of Parks Victoria, Chair of the Parks Victoria Audit and Risk Committee, a member of the Uniting Age Well Audit and Risk Committee, and Chair of the Point Nepean Advisory Committee. Previous Board roles include Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water and Water Stewardship Australia. In addition, Kate is the General Manager, Energy and Resources at the Bureau of Meteorology, where she brings the Bureau’s best data and insight to the challenge of managing climate risk and transformation in these industries. She has held executive director roles at the City of Melbourne, Nous Group, Veolia Water and South East Water. Kate has degrees in civil engineering, economics and business administration. She is a Fellow of Engineers Australia, Fellow of the Williamson Community Leadership Program, and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Dr Geoff Wescott
Geoff was appointed to the Board in 2011. After retiring from being an Associate Professor of Environment at Deakin University in Melbourne, Geoff is now an Honorary Principal Fellow in the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences at the University of Melbourne. He is a Fellow of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand, a member of the World Commission for Protected Areas of the IUCN and Vice President of the Australian Coastal Society. He has served on the Australian National Oceans Advisory Group, the Victorian Coastal Council and Parks Victoria. Geoff is currently a member of the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council and has just published a book (Big, Bold and Blue) on Australia’s marine protected areas. He was also the Chair of an Expert Panel advising the state government on the new Marine and Coastal Act 2018.
Mr Greg Smith AM
Greg has had extensive experience in conciliation and arbitration, both in Australia and overseas, through his previous roles with the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, Industrial Relations Commission and Fair Work Commission. His skills in resolving industrial disputes across a range of industry sectors through conciliation, mediation and arbitration span over 30 years. His non-executive Director experience includes being the current Board Chair of the Country Fire Authority, and a Director of Ambulance Victoria. Greg is also a Director on the Board of Zoos Victoria.
Professor Kenneth Hinchcliff
Kenneth was appointed to the Board in 2008. He is the President and CEO (Warden) of Trinity College and the former Dean and Professor of the Faculty of Veterinary and Agriculture Science at the University of Melbourne. He is an experienced academic administrator with expertise in higher education and veterinary medicine. He is a strong business development professional and skilled in strategic planning and governance of non-profit organisations. Kenneth is a world-recognised expert in equine medicine and exercise physiology and as providing global leadership through membership of key organisations and authorship of leading veterinary textbooks and other publications.
Ms Natasha Bowness
Natasha was appointed to the Board in April 2013. She is an Executive Director of Wilbow Group, a private family investment group whose activities include property, listed and unlisted investments and private equity. She is a Chartered Accountant and has experience in governance, strategy, risk, business management, audit, finance and philanthropy. Natasha is Chair of the Bowness Family Foundation, a member of The Australian Ballet Foundation Board, President of the Australian Ballet Annual Giving Program and Chair of the Monash Gallery of Art Committee of Management. She has also been Deputy Chair of Zoos Victoria Foundation Board.
Ms Dana Hlavacek
Dana is an experienced corporate executive and independent director with expertise in treasury and finance, audit, risk, compliance and governance. Her executive career includes roles in the resources sector and audit and assurance. Dana is a director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, a member of the Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust and a member of the Salvation Army Corporate and Philanthropy Committee. Previous director roles include RSPCA Victoria, Melbourne Water Corporation, VicWater and Trustee of the Victorian Arts Centre Trust. Dana is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants ANZ, a graduate member of the AICD, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) and a Master of Accounting.
Mr Bill Whitford
Bill is the longstanding Managing Director of the Treasury Corporation of Victoria, Victoria’s central borrowing authority. He has held this role since July 2003. He is a non-executive Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of the Australian Financial Markets Association, and is a member of the Investment Committee of Australian Unity. He has previously held non-executive Director roles with the Rural Finance Corporation of Victoria and Big Sky Building Society. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a graduate of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees and a Trustee of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia. Bill has more than 30 years’ experience in market risk, gained through financial markets roles with Banque National de Paris and the State Bank of South Australia, and the financing of government and infrastructure with the South Australian and Victorian Governments. He holds an MBA from Adelaide University Graduate School of Management.
Ms Rebecca McKenzie
Rebecca is an accomplished leader with a successful career at executive level across three countries and three sectors. CEO at City of Glen Eira since February 2016, Rebecca’s prior roles have included CEO at Mitchell Shire Council in Melbourne’s north and Director of Corporate Services for Yarra Ranges Council. Before relocating back to Australia in 2009, Rebecca held Director level roles at Swindon Borough Council in the UK and National University of Ireland in Dublin. Rebecca is passionate about local government’s role in creating resilient communities with a sense of pride of place. A values based leader who invests in her people, Rebecca builds strong relationships at all levels, and acts as a mentor and coach for emerging leaders in the sector. Rebecca is also President of LGPro, the member led professional association for local government in Victoria. In this role she is a strong voice for the sector, and is leading LGPro’s advocacy with the State on such issues as legislative reform, sector capability and gender representation.Rebecca’s qualifications include a BA in Government and Sociology, MSc in Strategic Human Resource Management and Grad Cert in Business Administration. She is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Zoos Victoria's Patron
The Hon. Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria
Zoos Victoria Foundation Advisory Board
The Zoos Victoria Foundation Advisory Board comprises a select group of Melbourne's influential community and business leaders, who play an ambassadorial role in the development of fundraising and partnership opportunities with individual donors and the corporate and philanthropic sectors.
Making and Handling Public Interest Disclosure
The Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012 (Vic) ensures that people who report improper conduct and corruption in the Victorian public sector can do so in the knowledge that they will be protected. Zoos Victoria is not a public body able to receive public interest disclosure. You must make submit your disclosures to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission ( IBAC ). Refer to the procedures for making public interest disclosure.
Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality Policy
Zoos Victoria's Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality Policy incorporates the minimum accountabilities for managing gifts, benefits and hospitality at Zoos Victoria.
Looking for our annual reports? Please head to the About Us page.
See the below resources for more information regarding Zoos Victoria's status as a not-for-profit and tax-deductibility.
Zoos Victoria is a ZAA Accredited zoo-based conservation organisation dedicated to the continuous support of positive animal welfare through a science-based approach.
The ZAA accreditation involves a thorough process where zoos, aquariums, sanctuaries, and wildlife parks provide compelling evidence on their operations, policies and the experiences of their animals. This assessment goes beyond the minimum legal government requirements placed on zoos and aquariums, using the Five Domains model to reach a higher standard and continuously support positive animal welfare.