How we govern

For almost half a century, ACF has been a strong voice for the environment promoting solutions through research, consultation, education and partnerships. As a national, community-based environmental organisation, ACF has worked with the community, business and government to protect, restore and sustain the environment.


As Australia’s leading, national, not-for-profit environmental organisation, our purpose is to influence rapid transformational change, to provide lasting solutions to Australia’s environmental problems, and to create a sustainable future and better quality of life for all Australians.


 ACF enjoys contributions and support from the wider community including donors and volunteers. A small percentage of funds are contributed by State, Territory or Federal government in support of select ACF programs.


The objectives of the organisation are delivered through the work of the Council, Board, Members, staff and volunteers. Strictly non-partisan in its work, over the years ACF has enjoyed positive collaborative relationships with diverse sectors of the community and government.


The Foundation is a member-based charity incorporated in 1966 as an association under the laws of the Australian Capital Territory. The organisational structure of ACF is set out by our Constitution. ACF seeks to achieve the highest standards of governance, and endeavours to conduct its affairs with transparency and accountability. Council, Board, Members, staff and volunteers work in accordance with ACF’s Constitution, regulations and guidelines, all of which have been developed to support good governance behaviours.

  • Council is elected every three years by our members and consists of 21 councillors directly accountable to members. In addition Council elects a President and a Board, which consists of up to 11 members. The Council has the power to dismiss and review the performance of the Board, it advises the Board on strategic direction, and recommends new and revised environmental policies. The Council is also responsible for building and maintaining strong relationships with members.
  • Board is appointed by and accountable to Council, and is responsible for ACF’s governance. The Board’s principal responsibilities are: to ensure effective operational performance; legal and regulatory compliance and risk management; to approve environmental policy; and to implement the long term strategic plan. The Chief Executive Officer is accountable to the Board for the performance of the organisation.
  • Members are the backbone of the organisation. They provide significant financial support and are vital to the success of our campaigning strategies. They participate through a democratic structure in which they elect the Council, and have input to policy and campaigns. Without its Members, ACF would not have the influence it does. 
  • Staff are located throughout Australia: in Melbourne’s head office and offices in Sydney, Cairns, Canberra and Broome. Under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer, Don Henry, our 70 staff are responsible for ACF’s day to day operations. ACF staff work across areas such as campaigns, administration, fundraising, communications, human resources, finance, information technology and customer service.
  • Volunteers and supporters are essential to the success and scope of our work. Every year thousands of volunteers and supporters generously assist ACF by donating their time, resources and skills.

How do we communicate to our members and supporters?

ACF communicates with its stakeholders through a variety of different channels including:

ACFID Code of Conduct for Non-Government Organisations

The Australia Conservation Foundation is a signatory to the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) Code of Conduct and committed to adhering to its high standards of corporate governance, public accountability and financial management.

The code sets out the standards of governance, management, financial control and reporting with which non-government organisations must comply to maintain membership of ACFID. These organisations are required to become a signatory to and demonstrate compliance with the code before they are eligible to obtain accreditation with the AusAID, the Australian Government’s overseas aid program. Compliance is met by submitting an annual report for assessment against established criteria and completing a self-assessment process designed by ACFID.

More information about the Code is available from or by contacting ACFID on or 02 6285 1816.

Complaints relating to alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct by any signatory agency can be made by any member of the public to the ACFID Code of Conduct Committee.


  • Who appoints the Council? Council is elected by ACF Members.
  • Who appoints the Board? The Board is appointed by Council.
  • How does the Board carry out its responsibilities? The Board has a number of committees. Further information about these may be found in our annual reports.
  • Who appoints the CEO? The Board is responsible for appointing the CEO.

Corporate information.

  • Our ABN is 22 007 498 482 and it is registered for GST with ASIC.
  • Our annual statements are lodged with the Office of Regulatory Services in the A.C.T.