Who we are

Chairman, CEO and Interim Board


Chairman and CEO

EPA Chairman Cheryl Batagol

EPA Chairman – Cheryl Batagol

Cheryl Batagol joined EPA in September 2009 and has more than 40 years’ experience in the waste management, water and environmental sectors.

Cheryl brings to the role her prior experience with numerous government bodies including Chair of Melbourne Water, a board member of City West Water and Southern Rural Water, Chair of EcoRecycle Victoria, Deputy Chair and board member of Sustainability Victoria and a member of the Victorian Catchment Management Council and the Victorian Sustainability Fund Advisory Panel.

Cheryl is also the Chair of the Co-operative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities and the Chair of the Heads of EPAs Australia and New Zealand.

EPA CEO Nial FineganEPA Chief Executive Officer – Nial Finegan

Nial Finegan joined EPA in August 2014. Nial is a Chartered Professional Engineer and fellow of Engineers Australia. He has a MBA from Imperial College London and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Immediately prior to joining EPA, Nial was Deputy Secretary of the Victorian Department of Justice and, prior to that, held a number of senior executive roles at VicRoads.



Interim Board

On 17 January 2017, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio confirmed the Victorian Government’s support for all 48 recommendations (40 fully, seven in principle, one in part) made by the Independent Inquiry into the EPA, which was completed in March 2016.

In recognition of Recommendation 19.1, an interim advisory board has been established to provide advice to the EPA Chairman to deliver on agreed reforms in the Government response to the EPA Inquiry.

The seven-member interim advisory board will be chaired by Cheryl Batagol in an ex-officio capacity.

Dr John Stocker

Dr Stocker has a background in medical research. He was formerly the Chief Executive and subsequently Chairman of CSIRO, the Australian Government’s Chief Scientist Australia and a non-executive Director of Telstra. Dr Stocker is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

Dr Stocker's undergraduate studies were at the University of Melbourne, completing his Bachelor of Medical Science in 1969, and his Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery in 1970. In 1976, he completed his Ph.D. at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne. Dr Stocker is chair of EPA’s Science & Engineering Advisory Committee.

Professor Rebekah Brown

Professor Brown is Director of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, at Monash University. The Institute is a leading interdisciplinary research and education centre working collaboratively with government, industry and philanthropists to advance the knowledge, policy and practice of sustainable development.

Professor Brown was formerly the Chief Research Officer at the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities and a Professor of Environmental Sociology at Monash University. Professor Brown holds a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Honours) from Monash University and a PhD in Environmental Studies from the University of New South Wales.  

Ross Pilling

Mr Pilling recently retired as Chairman and Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand at BASF Australia Ltd. He was a member of that company’s Asia Pacific Leadership Team from 2008, in which capacity he designed and implemented a successful major transformation program. Mr Pilling was formerly the Deputy National President of the Australian Industry Group, and a longstanding board member of the Plastics and Chemicals Industry Association.

Mr Pilling was a member of the Industry Advisory Committee for RMIT’s and School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering and a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Forum to COAG. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, a Graduate of the AICD’s Mastering the Boardroom Course and has a Master of Science from Cranfield Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours from the University of Liverpool.           

Monique Conheady

Ms Conheady is currently Chair of the Moreland Energy Foundation Limited, a Fellow of the Centre for Sustainability Leadership, a Commissioner with the Taxi Services Commission and a Director with the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.

Ms Conheady was a co-founder and CEO of Flexicar and subsequently held senior management roles at Hertz Australia after it purchased Flexicar. Ms Conheady is a University of Melbourne graduate with honours in both Engineering and Arts.

Debra Russell

Ms Russell has more than 30 years’ experience in law and a strong regulatory background, having been a senior executive with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. For the past 14 years, Ms Russell has worked as a legal and regulatory risk consultant, including through PricewaterhouseCoopers, providing legal and regulatory risk services to clients.

Ms Russell has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws from Melbourne University, a Graduate Diploma in Education from Monash University and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment (Securities Institute of Australia). She is a former member of EPA’s Environment Protection Board (EP Board). Ms Russell is also a member of EPA’s Risk and Audit Committee.       

Rob Hogarth

Mr Hogarth is an experienced non-executive director who has been a member of the EPA Risk and Audit committee for more than five years. Mr Hogarth is a Chartered Accountant and a former partner with KPMG Australia. Since retiring from KPMG he has served as a non-executive director/risk and audit committee member for a range of organisations in the public and private sectors.

Mr Hogarth also provides mentoring and business advice to selective organisations focusing primarily on strategy, governance and financial and risk management. Mr Hogarth holds a Bachelor of Economics from Sydney University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.  

Professor Arie Freiberg

Professor Freiberg is an Emeritus Professor at Monash University, a position he has held since 2013. He was Dean of the Faculty of Law at Monash University between 2004 and 2012 and previously Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne. He was appointed to the Foundation Chair of Criminology at the University of Melbourne in 1991 where he served as Head of the Department of Criminology for 10 years.

Professor Frieberg holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours), a Diploma in Criminology and a Doctor of Laws from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Laws from Monash University. He is a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian Academy of Law and holds an Adjunct Faculty appointment in the Australia and New Zealand School of Government. He has consulted for several governments on matters of legal and regulatory reform.

Page last updated on 29 Jun 2017