Dr van Leeuwen is a Wardandi man of the Noongar Nation with strong links to Country in the Busselton and Margaret River areas of south west Western Australia.
He represented his family on the Noongar Negotiating Team for the South West Native Title Settlement and is a representative of the South West Boojarah
Native Title Working Party. Dr van Leeuwen is committed to engage collegially in relationships with Traditional Owners and other land managers to deliver
innovate and enduring outcomes for biodiversity management on Country that also deliver significant and enduring benefits to community.
Dr van Leeuwen in a botanical ecologist by training and has worked across a diverse range of research disciplines in his 40 year career, most of which were with the Western Australia governments biodiversity, nature conservation and land management agency. These disciplines include, rare flora surveys across Western Australia, fire ecology of rare plants and mulga communities, ethnobotanical surveys in the Pilbara, plant genomic and provenance studies, and biological surveys across the state. Dr van Leeuwen also has a strong pedigree in providing advice to regulatory agencies on environmental impact assessments, has been involved in the design of the National Reserve System in the Western Australian Rangelands, and for the past 15 years has held senior managerial positions overseeing the delivery of offset programs associated with Matters of National Environmental Significance and the delivery of rigours applied science to inform biodiversity management and nature conservation across terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems in Western Australia.
Dr van Leeuwen is a member of numerous boards and advisory panels including as a Federal Ministerial appointee to the Commonwealth’s Department of the Environment and Energy’s Indigenous Advisory Committee, the Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel, the Management Panel for the Great Victoria Desert Biodiversity Trust and Parks Australia’s South-west Marine Park Advisory Committee. He also holds State Ministerial appointments to the Western Australian Threatened Ecological Communities Scientific Committee and the Pilbara Environmental Offset Fund. Dr van Leeuwen is also a member of the NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub Indigenous Reference Group, NESP Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub’s Research Executive Group, TERN Surveillance Advisory Group and the Indigenous Working Group to the Ecological Society of Australia