Our Board

The Chairman and board members are chosen by the Federal Minister for the Environment and are appointed by the Governor General.

The board meets on average four times a year.

The role of board members is to ensure the efficient and effective performance of the legislative functions of the Authority, consistent with the government's expectations in regards to performance, objectives, values and broader government policies.

Discussions by the board are focused on broad policy and legislative matters, while responsibility for operational matters (including permit and development applications) rests with senior management.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 requires that board members have qualifications and extensive experience in a field related to the functions of the Authority. It also requires that one of the board members be nominated by the Queensland Government, that one member be Indigenous with knowledge of Indigenous issues in the Marine Park, and that one member have tourism industry expertise.

A summary of Marine Park Authority decisions is provided after each meeting.

MPA Board Members

Dr Russell Reichelt FTSE
GBRMPA Chairman, Ruseell Reichelt

Chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)

Russell Reichelt joined GBRMPA in 2007 as Chairman and Chief Executive. Dr Reichelt is a board member of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. He began diving on the Great Barrier Reef in 1968 and worked as a research scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science in the 1980s studying the ecology of coral reefs, particularly the crown-of-thorns starfish.

He has a PhD in marine science and has served as CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Chairman of the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, and as a member of Australia’s State of the Environment Committee.

He has previously chaired the National Oceans Advisory Group, CSIRO's Wealth from Oceans Flagship Advisory Committee and Seafood Services Australia Ltd.

He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering; the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (UK); and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Honorary positions: Adjunct Professor in the College of Marine and Environmental Sciences at James Cook University, and at the University of Queensland.

He was appointed as a member of the Authority on 1 November 2007 for a five-year term, reappointed on 1 November 2012 for a five-year term and extended on 1 November 2017 for up to one year.

Melissa George
Melissa George photo

Melissa George is a Wulgurukaba woman whose traditional area includes Magnetic Island and the greater Townsville region.

She has been actively involved in protecting and managing land and sea through community natural resource management projects and liaising with and advising the Queensland and Australian governments. Ms George has been a member of the Indigenous Advisory Committee (EPBC Act 1999) since 2002 and Chair since 2006.

She was appointed as a member of the Authority on 29 August 2008 for a four-year term, reappointed on 22 November 2012 for a five-year term and extended on 22 November 2017 for a one-year term concluding on 21 November 2018.

Mr Dave Stewart

Head shot photo of Dave Stewart

Dave Stewart was appointed Director-General of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet in February 2015.

Prior to this role he was the Secretary for Transport for New South Wales, where he led around 27,000 people shaping planning, policy and delivery of public transport, roads and freight across New South Wales.

After a long career in local government, and engineering construction in Australia and the United Kingdom, Dave joined the Queensland Government in 2006 as Deputy Coordinator-General within the Department of Infrastructure and Planning, where he was responsible for delivering major water and road projects.

From June 2008 he was the Director-General of Queensland Transport and then the Department of Transport and Main Roads, overseeing the integration of organisations to a new customer-focused model. His primary responsibility was transport leadership including strategic policy and planning, system stewardship, infrastructure delivery and service delivery.

One of his highlights as the Director-General has been participating in the community champions program for Indigenous communities, where he regularly visited Gulf communities and assisted them with accessing much-needed government services.

He is passionate about regional Queensland and engaging directly with residents, business, government and community leaders.

He is a civil engineer and holds Masters Degrees in Business and Engineering Science. He completed an executive program at Harvard University looking at private sector involvement in infrastructure delivery. He is a Fellow of Engineers Australia and an Honorary Fellow, Chartered Institute of Transport and Logistics.

Mr Stewart was appointed as a member of the Authority Board on 23 July 2015 for a three-year term, concluding on 22 July 2018 and was recently re-appointed the Queensland member of the Authority Board on 21 June 2018 for a five-year period commencing from 23 July 2018.

Prof Emma Johnston AO

Photo of GBRMPA board member Emma Johnston

Emma Johnston is an award winning scientist, educator and communicator and a Professor of marine ecology and ecotoxicology at the University of New South Wales. Professor Johnston investigates human impacts in marine ecosystems with a particular emphasis on stress ecology, invasion biology and the development of bio-monitoring tools. Emma has published more than 100 refereed papers in coastal ecology. She graduated with a BSc. (Hons) from the University of Melbourne in 1997 and a PhD from the University of Melbourne in 2002.

Professor Johnston has led more than 20 major research projects for industry, government, the Australian Research Council and the Australian Antarctic Science Program. From 2010-2014 she was an Australian Research Fellow for the Australian Research Council and in 2012 became the inaugural Director of the flagship Sydney Harbour Research Program for the Sydney Institute of Marine Science. She is currently the lead author of the Federal Government State of Environment Report for the Australian Coast and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at UNSW.

Professor Johnston has received a string of awards including the inaugural Australian Academy of Science Nancy Millis Medal (2014), the Eureka Prize for the public communication of science (2015) and the Hynes Award from the Canadian Rivers Institute (2016) and the receipient of the AO Office of the Order of Australia for 'for distinguished service to higher education, particularly to marine ecology and ecotoxicology, as an academic, researcher and administrator, and to scientific institutes' (2018). Professor Johnston is a senior advisor to both government and industry, and is Vice-President of Science and Technology Australia (STA).

She was appointed as a member of the Authority on 5 May 2016 for a five-year term concluding on 4 May 2021.

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