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Gina’s digs a gold mine for Barnaby

Who’s new at the zoo? Almost everyone, it seems.

CBD readers will recall the weird corporate governance sitch surrounding the Zoological Parks and Gardens Board, the not-for-profit organisation that runs the Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo. It requires the state government to rid itself of all board members. At the time, Zoos Victoria said its board members’ terms all expired at the same time every three years and “often current board members reapply”.

Now, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio has announced the new board. And only two members survived.

Chair Kate Vinot, an executive at the Bureau of Meteorology, deputy chair Geoff Wescott, a former associate professor of environment at Deakin University, are both gonski.

After merely one term, board member Rebecca McKenzie has leapt into the chair’s seat. As chief executive of the City of Glen Eira, McKenzie brings extensive expertise in local government, so she’s clearly used to wrangling animals.

Former PwC partner turned Golf Australia and Football Federation executive Tony Hallam was appointed deputy chair while former chair of the Country Fire Authority, Greg Smith, was the second former board member to survive the cull.

New members include: Professor Anna Meredith, head of the Melbourne Veterinary School in the University of Melbourne; Dr Teresa De Fazio, former commissioner of the Victorian Multicultural Commission; and Vijaya Vaidyanath, Yarra Council’s chief executive officer. Oh and Marsha Thomson, a former Labor state government minister.

Minister D’Ambrosio has staggered the appointments to avoid another wholesale clean-out and hit female representation and cultural and linguistic diversity targets. In the animal kingdom, as in state government appointments, diversity is strength.

RENOVATION CLAIMS

Andy Hopkins’ row with the AMA smash repairs giant he once led is becoming messier.

More than six months after Hopkins resigned as chief executive following allegations he had wrongly billed more than $1 million of personal expenses to the company — including painting his winery and purchasing fast cars — he has now been accused of charging the company for renovations at his Perth waterfront home and Margaret River winery.

The British-born Hopkins has repeatedly rejected claims of wrongdoing. He says he has been subject to a “complete stitch-up” by the listed group he led for 10 years.

But company lawyers have added to their laundry list of claims against him in a new statement of claim lodged in the Federal Court. It alleges Hopkins charged the company more than $700,000 for building works at his Swings and Roundabouts Winery in Yallingup, in addition to works at his Dalkeith waterfront.

The claims lodged on June 30 allege $702,986.87 of works completed at the winery were charged to a service company which is a subsidiary of the AMA Group.

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“Neither the Service Company nor any member of the AMA Group gained any benefit,” the claim states, adding that Hopkins didn’t disclose to the company that the cash was being spent for his private benefit, nor did the company agree to the costs. The lawyers also allege Hopkins instructed a procurement officer to direct the builders to bill AMA sites where they weren’t doing any work instead of the winery. An earlier statement of claim filed in May alleged that tradesmen completing jobs at Hopkins’ home had been instructed to write up invoices as work on AMA sites. An invoice allegedly sent by a painter to a procurement officer said: “this is work I have done at andy [sic] house said to put it down as Osborne Park Gemini” which refers to an AMA site.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for Hopkins rejected the new claims. “This is another false accusation from AMA that is unsubstantiated and will be proven so in court,” they said. “Whilst these are matters for the court to ultimately determine, our client takes the view that this claim by AMA is unsubstantiated and simply won’t be made out.”

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