About us

Supporting science to save an Australian icon

Koala Life formerly known as The International Koala Centre of Excellence (IKCE) is a not-for-profit organisation, established through an Act of State Parliament for the purpose of conservation and research of koalas under the Minister for Climate, Environment and Water, South Australia.

The Koala Life Board was established in July 2019 and its first CEO – Chris Daniels was appointed in March 2020. Koala Life is a body corporate established as a subsidiary of the Minister for Climate, Environment and Water, the Hon Susan Close MP.

Contact us here.


Dr Chris West

Chris joined Koala Life as CE in January 2022. A veterinary surgeon and conservationist, he has been CEO of Zoos SA and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and Zoological Director at London Zoo. He has 25 years of experience in developing integrated conservation programs, interdisciplinary partnerships and ensuring they are sustainable and funded. He has held a number of professorships and board positions. For him the conservation of wild habitats is the end goal using science, ensuring absolute welfare standards, and enlisting wide support through public engagement and education initiatives. He feels strongly that securing a future for koalas is incredibly important for future generations and connecting people with their ancient cultural heritage and values is vital.

Board members

Professor Robert Hill (Chair)

Professor Bob Hill is a graduate of the University of Adelaide, having completed his Ph.D. on Tertiary plant macrofossils in 1981, and his D.Sc. on the interaction between climate change and the evolution of the living Australian vegetation in 1997. He has held academic positions at James Cook University, the University of Tasmania and, since 1999, the University of Adelaide. At the University of Adelaide, he has been Head of the School of Earth and Environmental Science, Director of the Environment Institute, Chair of Academic Board and the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science. He was Head of Science at the South Australian Museum for more than 10 years and has had several Board memberships.

Professor Hill’s research has focused on explaining changes that have occurred to the Australian flora and vegetation through evolutionary time, including a strong focus on how our vegetation evolved to the increasing influence of fire over tens of millions of years. He has been awarded the Clarke Medal from the Royal Society of NSW and the Burbidge Medal from the Australian Systematic Botany Society for his research on the evolution of the Australian vegetation.

He has published more than 200 refereed journal papers, 35 book chapters, several symposium papers and has edited four books.

Sandy Carruthers

Executive Director, Strategy, Science and Corporate Services at the Department for Environment and Water SA.

Susie Herzberg OAM

Susie Herzberg OAM has worked as an urban, environmental and strategic planner in government, in private practice and at the University of Adelaide. Ms Herzberg is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is past Chair of the Board of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium, and served on boards including South Australian Housing Trust, Patawalonga Water Catchment Management Board, KESAB Environmental Solutions, Nature Foundation SA, State Cycling Council and Playford Memorial Trust. Ms Herzberg has business experience as former Managing Partner of Manyara Vineyard, and as director of several private companies.

David Robinson

David Robinson joined Phillips Henderson Ward HSBC in July 1987, a predecessor firm to Morgan Stanley. Mr Robinson’s knowledge of the financial services industry is expansive. In a career of more than 25 years, he has covered virtually all aspects from back office functions to research and management roles. In 1996, Mr Robinson designed an investor education course titled 'Understanding Share Investments' where materials are still in use by industry organisations today. Mr
Robinson specialises in family and intergenerational planning, with an additional interest in advising philanthropic and not for profit organisations.

Susan Harrington

Susan Harrington is a documentary maker, broadcast journalist, PR consultant and magazine writer. Former roles include: TV News Senior Producer; Reporter and Chief-of-Staff roles at Channel 9, Channel 7 and ABC, (Adelaide). Ms Harrington lived and worked in London for a total of six years, reporting for Visnews, BBC and Reuters Television and has been an award-winning writer at Adelaide Hills Magazine. Ms Harrington is now working as a consultant, specialising in directing and producing videos for broadcast or corporate use.

Reports & documents

View our reports and documents here.