Reef management agency welcomes new chairperson

Australia’s lead management agency for the Great Barrier Reef welcomes the appointment of new chairperson Dr Ian Poiner, officially announced by the Federal Environment Minister.

A highly respected marine scientist, Dr Poiner formally took up the position of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chairperson today following the retirement of former chairperson Dr Russell Reichelt after 11 years.

Dr Poiner said he was looking forward to taking on the Board position for a term of four years and six months.

“I’m delighted to be appointed chairperson of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority,” he said.

“The Marine Park Authority plays an important role in ensuring one of the world’s greatest natural treasures is protected by managing the delicate balance between conservation and sustainable use, ensuring people have the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the Reef’s wonders.

“As a scientist, and through my involvement in other science organisations, I have a strong interest in Reef health and management and look forward to working with fellow board members.

“I’m particularly interested in how threats are impacting the Great Barrier Reef and what actions can be taken to improve its resilience, which is a key focus of the Marine Park Authority’s work.”

Dr Poiner brings to the role a long history of involvement in Great Barrier Reef science and conservation.

He’s successfully managed large-scale, multi-disciplinary research projects and established national and international research programs.

Following a successful research career at CSIRO from 1985-2004, Dr Poiner was the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Institute of Marine Science from 2004 to 2011.

His recent roles include chairing the Australian and New Zealand International Ocean Discovery Program Consortium and chairing the CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Advisory Committee.

Following this appointment, new governance arrangements also come into effect for the Marine Park Authority, which sees a separation in role of the Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer positions.

The Environment Minister appointed Mr Bruce Elliot as acting Chief Executive Officer, pending recruitment of a permanent Chief Executive.

Mr Elliot brings to the role over 10 years’ experience as a Senior Executive within the Marine Park Authority, most recently as General Manager of Reef Engagement.

Prior to joining the Marine Park Authority he was an Assistant Commissioner at the Australian Taxation Office, responsible for capability leadership of intelligence and risk and supporting compliance programs.

Mr Elliot said the Marine Park Authority looked forward to working with Dr Poiner.

“We’re delighted with Dr Poiner’s appointment to our Board — he’s a well-respected scientist who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position," Mr Elliot said.

“For decades he gained first-hand experience as a research scientist before progressing to senior leadership positions and chairing boards.

“This mix of experience sees him well-placed to understand the Reef and the Marine Park Authority’s work and bring strategic leadership experience to our Board.”

Under the new governance arrangements, the Chief Executive Officer is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

The Board is responsible the management of the Marine Park, including guidance on policy, however they don’t make decisions on how the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority spends its budget.

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