About the project



Zero30 will achieve certification of the Armidale Local Government Area through the Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard for Precincts. The Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard will help us to manage our greenhouse emissions and achieve our goal of carbon neutrality by 2030.

Who can be involved in Project Zero30?

Many organisations are managing their greenhouse gas emissions to position themselves for growth and competitiveness in a lower-emissions future. Businesses are also choosing to go one step further and demonstrate leadership and corporate responsibility by becoming carbon neutral. If your business is interested in becoming carbon neutral, please contact us to discuss how you can take part in Project Zero30.

Joining forces

The Armidale Regional Council, in partnership with the University of New England, Business New England and Local Land Services, has combined networks, know-how and resources to move the Armidale Local Government Region to zero net C02 emissions by 2030.

Contributing to research with impact

The Zero30 Project is driven by research which will empower our regional community to engage and participate in our citizen science network, directly benefitting our Armidale Local Government Area.

Meet the Zero30 Board

Professor Chris Armstrong
Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, University of New England

Professor Chris Armstrong is the Deputy Vice Chancellor Research for the University of New England, a role he took up in October 2022. At UNE he is responsible for the research direction of the university, including strategy, research services and the Graduate Research School. Prior to his appointment at UNE he was the NSW Deputy Chief Scientist and Engineer. He was awarded a Public Service Medal for his services in science and engineering in the 2016 Queens Birthday Honours. He served in the public sector from 2003. Within government Chris worked on a range of technical and policy issues including air quality associated with road tunnels, coal seam gas, koalas in NSW, climate modelling, industry decarbonisation, coal dust in the Hunter Valley Coal Chain, longwall mining etc. Chris has a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Sydney.

Charles Coventry
Agricultural Representative

Charles Coventry is a sixth-generation wool grower from Armidale, NSW and owns properties to the east of Armidale and lives with his wife and three children in the New England Tablelands. He is the Managing Director and part owner of sheep and cattle property, run in a joint venture company with Italian brand Ermenegildo Zegna. The wool goes into Zegna suits which are sold around the world. Following a carbon account baseline report of the property in 2021 with a goal to become carbon neutral. Charles has been involved in numerous industry initiatives to learn more about the farms carbon footprint and ways to reduce emissions.

Charles is also CEO of grain marketing company Broun and Co Grain Pty Ltd, purchasing the majority of the business in August 2021 after purchasing an initial stake in 2014. He has worked at GrainCorp for 17 years, spending time in; logistics, as a grain Pools Manager, Senior wheat trader and Head of Domestic Marketing. He also remained Grains Procurement Manager for Allied Mills in Australia, and Goodman Fielder across Australia, NZ and South Pacific.

Charles has a degree in Agricultural Economics and diplomas in Financial Management and Market Technical Analysis. He is an arbitrator for GTA (Grain Trade Australia) and also a past President of AgEDGE.

Todd Redwood
Deputy Mayor, Armidale Regional Council

Todd Redwood is the Asia Pacific Food and Retail Sector Director for BSI Group, the world’s first National Standards Body and founding member of ISO, which since 1901, has been helping organisations across the globe improve and capture best practice. His role helps keep food supply chains around the world safe, sustainable, secure, and socially responsible through the delivery of solutions by expert teams based in 33 countries around the world.

After returning to Armidale with his young family following 30 years working around the globe, Todd was disheartened to find the once bustling region stagnant, disconnected, frail and on the verge of giving up; and promptly prepared to stand for the 2021 NSW local government election, being elected Deputy Mayor in January 2022.

With the ambition to revitalise and reinvigorate the region, the newly elected council committed to a jobs and growth strategy to increase the region’s population by 10,000 by 2040 supported with associated industry and 4,000 jobs. Water security was identified as the number one barrier to this goal and by the end of 2022, all necessary plans were in place to secure the region’s water supply. Other priorities for council include transport and connectivity with a focus on the regional airport, affordable housing and land use strategy, and bolstering tourism.

Since 2005 Todd’s been an active member and graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is a member of various local and global working groups, steering committees and groups.

Meet the Zero30 Project Leaders

Daniel Boyce
Armidale Regional Council

Daniel Boyce is a chartered surveyor and planner and the Chief Officer Sustainable Development at Armidale Regional Council (ARC). Daniel has almost 20 years experience in urban and regional planning and prior to commencing at ARC was the lead council planner assisting the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to prepare the master plan for the Moree Special Activation Precinct, a proposed net-zero emissions precinct designed in accordance with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) Eco-Industrial Park framework.

Professor David Miron
Project Lead on behalf of the University of New England

David is one of the Zero30 Project Leads, as well as the Director Regional Development at University of New England, Armidale. David has a PhD in Computer Science, and a passion for pursuing research outcomes which provide benefit regional communities, farmers and local businesses.

Meet our Science Advisory Committee

Professor Tom Davison
Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA)

Dr Davison has worked in research management for twenty years across Rural Research & Development Corporations, most recently with Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), where he managed large research projects in a portfolio covering feedbase, environment and climate.

Dr Sonja Dominik

Dr Sonja Dominik is Acting Research Director for the Livestock and Aquaculture Program with CSIRO Agriculture and Food. The program includes science teams that work in methane mitigation in beef cattle, including anti-methanogenic forages, supplements and their delivery in extensive systems with a focus on Northern Australia and strong links into UNE’s methane research in Southern Australia.

Sonja’s expert science area is quantitative genetics and she has been working in breeding program design for livestock and aquaculture species with a focus on developing and integrating novel traits, such as methane emission in sheep to ensure the future sustainability of the industries.

Sonja holds a PhD in Animal Genetics and Breeding from the University of New England (UNE) in Armidale, and a Bachelor in Agricultural Sciences (Honours) with the Justus-Liebig University, Giessen, Germany.

Dr Rachel Lawrence

Rachel studied forest ecology at the University of Tasmania and then completed her PhD in grazing management and grassland ecology at the University of New England. She has worked in a range of agroecological roles including locust control, Integrated Pest Management for insects, forest health and as a landcare facilitator. Rachel currently works in the development of farm-scale Natural Capital Accounting which is intended to support farmers to better steward the underlying natural resource-base that their farm businesses rely on. The approach also enables a quantification of net carbon and biodiversity losses and/or gains for a farm business. Rachel is also passionate about Permaculture and the role local food production has in reducing carbon emissions while at the same time helping to address a range of environmental, health and social issues.

Professor Annette Cowie
Department of Primary Industries (DPI NSW)

Annette Cowie has a background in soil science and plant nutrition, with particular interest in sustainable resource management. She is Principal Research Scientist -Climate, in NSW Department of Primary Industries. From 2009 to early 2014 she was the Director of Rural Climate Solutions, an alliance between NSW DPI and the University of New England.

Annette is also Task Leader of the International Energy Agency Bioenergy research network “Climate Change Effects of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems”, Land Degradation advisor on the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility, and a member of the Science Policy Interface of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. Her current research focuses on sustainability assessment and greenhouse gas accounting in agriculture and forestry; investigating key aspects of soil carbon dynamics and biochar processes; and life cycle assessment of forestry, bioenergy and biochar systems.

Meet our Community Advisory Committee

Richard Wilson
Business New England

Richard has over 30 years business experience working in Senior roles in the Food and Banking Sector in Australia and overseas. He currently works for a local not-for-profit organisation promoting businesses and business growth in the New England region as well as a Financial Counsellor. Richard worked and studied (Economics) at the University of New England over an eleven year period.

His passion for environmental issues is as a result of his experiences in the food industry, witnessing the rapid changing environmental conditions and the varying governmental response domestically and overseas, as well as being part of a proactive inspiring Sustainability group in Somerset England, from which he recently returned to Armidale last year.

David Steller
Armidale Tree Group

David is currently volunteering for the not-for-profit organisation, Armidale Tree Group. 

Previously, David has worked for 33 years in local government engineering roles, having retired from his position as Director of Strategic Projects and Public Infrastructure in 2017.

David has also supported engineering associations and served as Chair of the New England North West Group of IPWEA, and member of the Northern Group of Engineers Australia.

David is still active in the Rotary Club of Armidale Central and has worked on many overseas projects as a volunteer team leader through Rotary Australia World Community Service.

Kàren Zirkler

Karen Zirkler grew up on grain-growing farms in North West NSW, and is now an executive director of a family grazing operation in the New England.

Karen has a Bachelor of Science (Australian Environmental Studies), with First Class Honours. She has 30 years’ experience working in sustainable agriculture extension and Landcare, through roles with the Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Griffith University, Edith Cowan University, and currently as the CEO of Southern New England Landcare Ltd. In December 2020, Karen was appointed to the board of the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust.

Karen brings experience in communicating with, engaging, and resourcing landholders and other stakeholders. She spent two years overseas in the 1990s working in publication and marketing and has since edited and designed many natural resource management publications for rural audiences. She has the rare ability to facilitate groups through complex decisions using participatory leadership processes, to arrive at co-created solutions.

Karen has an expansive rural and regional network and first-hand experience of key issues currently affecting rural communities. Her interests and hobbies include carriage driving with her Welsh pony, Australian Stock Horses and implementing regenerative and sustainable practice on the family farm.

Sara Paton
Bio coming soon!