THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER
SENATOR NITA GREEN
SPECIAL ENVOY FOR THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND
Friday 22 December 2023
NEW APPOINTMENTS TO BETTER PROTECT THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
The Albanese Labor Government has today announced a number of new appointments to better protect the Great Barrier Reef.
Professor Selina Stead has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). Professor Stead is an excitingappointment bringing extensive experience in both operational and scientific leadership. She is an internationally renowned marine biologist whose current work is focused on aquatic food security and marine governance. Professor Stead is currently the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Environment at the University of Leeds, and Chief Scientific Advisor of the Marine Management Organisation for the Government of the United Kingdom.
Two new members have also been appointed to the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) Council. Mr Stephen Vincent Duffield and Professor Peter Steinberg join the Council with a wealth of knowledge and experience in marine science. As members of the AIMS Council, Mr Duffield and Professor Steinberg will play a key role in supporting and enabling AIMS to provide the science that helps support the sustainable use and protection of our marine environment. Both will serve 5-year terms, Mr Duffield’s term began on 14 December 2023 and Professor Steinberg’s term will begin on 1 January 2024.
Mr Joshua Thomas has been appointed for a second five-year term as Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) Chief Executive Officer, beginning on 18 March 2024. As CEO of the Reef Authority, Mr Thomas leads all operational, planning, and financial aspects of the Reef Authority’s work to protect and deliver sustainable use of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Quotes attributable to the Minister for the Environment and Water the Hon Tanya Plibersek:
“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Stead as CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and Mr Stephen Duffield and Professor Peter Steinberg as members of the Australian Institute of Marine Science Council. I am also pleased to announce that Mr Joshua Thomas has been reappointed as Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chief Executive Officer.
“These appointments will help protect the Great Barrier Reef for our kids and grandkids. Each candidate brings expertise, skill and passion we need to drive our efforts to better protect the Reef.
“Having the best available science at our fingertips and world leading management of the Reef are key to making sure we are doing everything we can to protect the Reef from threats like climate change and poor water quality. These appointments will deliver just that.”
Quotes attributable to Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef, Senator Nita Green:
“I want to congratulate Professor Stead and Mr Thomas on their appointments. I look forward to working with them to protect the Great Barrier Reef for future generations.
“The Australian Institute of Marine Science and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority play an important role in managing and studying the health of the Reef.
“It is important that both of these agencies, which are headquartered in North Queensland, have strong leadership coming into the summer months.”
Professor Selina Stead - Australian Institute of Marine Science CEO
Professor Selina Stead is the Executive Dean of Environment at the University of Leeds and the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor for the Marine Management Organisation.
Previously, Selina served as Dean of Research and as Public Orator at Newcastle University. Here she was awarded a Personal Professorship of Marine Governance and Environmental Science. She specialised in tropical marine resource management, investigating how human interactions impact coral reefs’ health and showed which socio-economic drivers influence rule-breaking in marine protected areas. Selina led the successful Queen’s Anniversary Prize on global aquatic food security for the University of Stirling when she was Head of the Institute of Aquaculture and worked with the Vice-Chancellor as lead for its cross-institutional City Region Deal.
Selina has held several high-profile positions including President of the European Aquaculture Society where she received the organisation’s highest honour, the Distinguished Services Award. This was for notable contributions to global food security using systems thinking to link aquaculture, fisheries, marine protected areas, integrated coastal management, marine policy and governance to better contribute to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Selina has been assigned to advise the governments of Australia and New Zealand on Blue Economy open innovation strategies and science diplomacy.
Mr Stephen Vincent Duffield - Australian Institute of Marine Science Council member
Mr Duffield is currently the President of the Australasian Hydrographic Society and the outgoing Chair of the Society of Underwater Technology (SUT) (Perth Branch) and an elected member of the SUT Council.
Mr Duffield has presented several papers to SUT and hydrographic conferences and has over 33 years’ experience in the Offshore Survey industry. Mr Duffield’s extensive industry experience will enable him to make a significant contribution to the work of AIMS.
Professor Peter Steinberg - Australian Institute of Marine Science Council member
Professor Peter Steinberg is Emeritus Professor of Marine Science at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney. He retired in 2021 after 30 years at UNSW. Mr Steinberg has extensive leadership and governance experience. He has been heavily involved in many of Australia’s most prominent marine science programs or initiatives.
In the last 20 years, he has increasingly focused on the broad societal context of his research, incorporating art, community engagement, and the commercial sector to try and build strong government and community support for the sustainable use of coastal environments.
Mr Joshua Thomas - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority CEO
Mr Josh Thomas has been Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (Reef Authority) since 2019 and has more than 20 years’ experience in the public and private sector in Australia and in the UK. He has academic qualifications in science, international affairs, and business administration.
As CEO of the Reef Authority, Mr Thomas has led all operational, planning, and financial aspects of the Reef Authority’s work to protect and deliver sustainable use of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Mr Thomas’ leadership experience in the marine environment extends across the Great Barrier Reef and its catchments, migratory and endangered species, whaling matters, marine parks, and Antarctica.