After 12 years with the Fitzroy Basin Association, Suzie Christensen has left the organisation for a break and to pursue new opportunities.
After 12 years with the Fitzroy Basin Association, Suzie Christensen has left the organisation for a break and to pursue new opportunities. Daniel Burdon

Fitzroy River runs in Suzie's blood

AFTER eight years at the helm of Queensland's largest natural resource management group, former Fitzroy Basin Association chief executive Suzie Christensen is finally taking a well-deserved break.

The passionate environmental advocate and single mother of three has worked at the Fitzroy Basin Association (FBA) for the past 12 years, for eight of which seh oversaw the organisation's growth from four people to 46 across the Fitzroy Basin.

Ms Christensen also helped grow the team from being responsible for $275,000 worth of natural resource management projects to some $20 million of projects this year.

FBA chairman Charlie Wilson said: "Suzie has overseen massive growth at FBA, and she has been instrumental in making the group recognised here and overseas as one of Australia's top natural resource management groups."

Ms Christensen said: "I think it was just time - I've been there for so long, and I still have a real passion for both the Central Queensland region and particularly the Fitzroy River.

"But I felt that the FBA was now in very good hands, and I felt ready to take a break for a while and look at a few new opportunities."

Her achievements over the past 12 years are also the FBA's, with the latest milestone being the 29-member Fitzroy Partnership for River Health.

Ms Christensen said: "I'd definitely rate that as a top achievement, and particularly the program manager Nathan Johnston was instrumental in making that a reality.

"But also, in the last two years, I went to Denver, Colorado (US) for an international conference about the sustainable beef industry, and after coming, we were lucky enough to host a very quiet visit from some global beef executives from McDonald's.

"They didn't want any media at the time, but it was amazing for Central Queensland, and the FBA to be recognised by such a high level, global group as one of the top sustainable beef regions on the globe."

She said another recent highlight was a new best management practice program for the grazing industry, which was the brainchild of Central Queensland graziers, the FBA and some other groups. It was also garnering interest from the industry's biggest bodies for a national roll-out.

Ms Christensen said: "Last year, in the thick of the 2010-11 floods all over Queensland, I was invited to sit on the Premier's Taskforce environment subcommittee.

"We were lucky enough to lobby for and win support for the Central Queensland beef industry and more grants to help rebuild fences and improve environmental outcomes after the floods."

She said that after so many years working on improving land management, and government support for it, she was planning to take a couple of weeks off to relax at home.

But, she said: "I will keep working in similar areas, and I'm not going anywhere - I think the Fitzroy River runs in my blood now."



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