The Wet Tropics Management Authority Board of Directors is established under the Wet Tropics World Heritage Protection and Management Act 1993. The Wet Tropics Ministerial Forum comprises the Commonwealth and Queensland Ministers with responsibility for the respective environment portfolios.
The board consists of seven directors, including an executive director. The chair of the board and an Aboriginal director are nominated by the Wet Tropics Ministerial Forum. Two directors are nominated by the Queensland Government and two by the Australian Government—Commonwealth legislation requires that at least one Australian Government nominee is an Aboriginal person.
These six directors are appointed by the Queensland Governor-in-Council for a term of up to three years and serve on a part-time basis. The executive director of the Authority is a full-time, non-voting board director.
The Wet Tropics Management Authority Board’s key function is to implement programs to meet Australia’s international obligations for the World Heritage Area under the World Heritage Convention. Persons are qualified for appointment as directors if they have qualifications or extensive experience in a field related to the Authority’s functions.
The Wet Tropics Management Authority Board generally meets quarterly. In addition to advice from the executive director, the board receives advice from advisory committees and liaison groups that it appoints and through wider community engagement processes.
Members of the current board were first appointed in 2015, reappointed in 2018.
The executive director is Mr Scott Buchanan and Ms Leslie Shirreffs is the chair.
They are joined by Dr Leah Talbot, Anne Clarke, John Courtenay, Professor Iain Gordon and Phil Rist.
WTMA Board of Directors in 2016 (L-R): Anne Clark, John Courtenay, Leah Talbot, Phil Rist,
Leslie Shirreffs, Iain Gordon, Scott Buchanan.
Ms Leslie Shirreffs PSM is a former senior Queensland public servant with 22 years’ experience in a range of positions relating to World Heritage management policy and programs across the state, biodiversity conservation, vegetation management, land planning and wildlife conservation.
John Courtenay is a tourism consultant with over 40 years’ experience in the development of tourism and the challenges of the development of Far North Queensland. He was a member of the team that negotiated on behalf of the tourist industry during the formation of the Wet Tropics Management Authority and the establishment of the Wet Tropics Plan.
Anne Clarke has 18 years’ public sector experience and three years in her current role as a consultant in sustainable resource management and development. Ms Clarke has worked in a range of positions relating to natural resource management including coastal stream and wetland restoration and fisheries habitat protection. Ms Clarke’s position as Regional Manager (North), Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries included responsibility for the delivery of programs relating to fishing, tourism, engineering and environmental control and ports and shipping. Ms Clarke chairs the Authority’s Community Consultative Committee.
Professor Iain Gordon has a recognised international reputation in scientific excellence and leadership in environmental research. Professor Gordon has over 30 years’ research experience on agriculture and environment issues across a range of continents as well as experience in engaging policy and industry stakeholders to ensure that research is relevant to the needs of those that will be using the knowledge. He chairs the Authority’s Scientific Advisory Committee.
Dr Leah Talbot is a descendant of the Kuku Yalanji People from the Bloomfield River area in Cape York Peninsula. Ms Talbot has worked with the Australian Conservation Foundation as the Cape York Program Officer. She has experiences in environmental management, high level Indigenous negotiations, developing collaborative Indigenous research methodologies, participative planning with Indigenous communities, and collaborative research in Indigenous land management techniques.
Phil Rist is the executive officer of the Girringun Aboriginal Corporation and Deputy Chair of the North Queensland Land Council. Phil is a widely respected Nywaigi Indigenous leader whose skill and determination has played a key role in establishing Girringun Aboriginal Corporation as one of the most successful Indigenous community-based organisations in Australia.