History Of The ECA

The formation and early history of the Environmental Consultant’s Association (WA) Inc.

Compiled from input by Roz Hart and Murray Ryall

The WA Division of the Environmental Institute of Australia (WA EIA) had a strong membership in the late-1980s. Many of the WA members were environmental consultants and meetings were lively with interesting speakers and many topics discussed.

During this time, Dinky Goble-Garrett initiated and organised an annual “Environmental Consultant’s Breakfast”. The Breakfasts were initially held on the foreshore at Matilda Bay, with Dinky catering for the event with assistance from Colma Keating. After a few years at the foreshore, the Breakfast was relocated to Kings Park, with the catering still done by Dinky, Colma and friends. As the popularity of the event grew and the catering responsibility became too onerous, the venue was moved to the Perth Zoo in 1993.

These annual Environmental Consultant’s Breakfasts brought a lot of members together and, to the surprise of some, it was apparent that environmental consultants enjoyed getting together and discussing common issues and problems. In 1991, a meeting of full-time consultant members of EIA WA was held to discuss issues relevant to them but not of interest to other Environmental practitioners. Following this meeting, a steering committee was set up within the WA EIA for an Environmental Consultant’s Group. Members of the initial steering committee for this group were Ray Hart, Ian Pound, Mark Wheeler, Tim McAuliffe, Doug Blandford and Dinky Goble-Garrett. By late-1991 concerns were expressed that the consultants sub-group within the EIA must be approved at the National level and in February 1992 the Environmental Consultant’s Group was formally set up as a group within the WA EIA.

This consultant’s group was very active and arranged several events, including a presentation from the then Minister for the Environment (Bob Pearce) and a seminar on “Valuing the Environment”. However, by the end of 1992 the EIA and Environmental Consultant’s Group were recognised as separate entities and the Environmental Consultant’s Association was formed in February 1993 as an independent association.