South-west Marine Parks Advisory Committee
The South-west Marine Parks Advisory Committee promotes the involvement, engagement and collaboration of marine park users, stakeholders and the community in the management of the 14 marine parks in the region.
The Committee brings together a wealth of knowledge and expertise across a range of topics relevant to marine park management, including tourism, fishing, sea country, marine transport, science, conservation, governance, communications and engagement.
Committee members will work with Parks Australia staff to shape the management of Australian Marine Parks, providing advice on marine issues at a regional level and strengthening our understanding of park user interests and issues.
This collaborative approach to management is critical to achieving our vision of healthy, resilient and well-managed marine parks that deliver benefits for all Australians.
There will be a minimum of two meetings per year. The next meeting is likely to occur in November, 2019.
Committee Members are appointed for a two year term. The current members are:
Bianca Priest (Chair)
Bianca is the Director of the Marine Parks Management West Section in the Marine Parks Branch of Parks Australia. She oversees management of the North-west and South-west Marine Park Networks which include 27 Australian Marine Parks that lie in Commonwealth waters off Western Australia and South Australia.
Bianca has worked with the Federal Government for more than 10 years across a range of programs including marine park management, marine bioregional planning, marine policy development and protected species management.
In 2012, Bianca worked in the Solomon Islands with the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Management on the Coral Triangle Initiative. Prior to joining the public service, she worked in the environment not-for-profit sector.
Kirsty is a marine scientist and environmental consultant. She currently provides technical advice in environmental assessment and conducts habitat mapping and fauna surveys for offshore energy and infrastructure projects in both State and Commonwealth waters. She also coordinates Albany’s South Coast Cetaceans project.
Kirsty has 17 years’ experience in a variety of State government departments in Western Australia, managing regional scale coastal catchment and marine planning, environmental management and ecosystem restoration projects. She is a positive, enthusiastic science communicator with extensive engagement experience.
Kirsty has worked in tertiary and community education roles, developing and delivering marine science education and community capacity building programs in Australia and overseas for both government and industry stakeholders.
Kirsty also has also worked in the aquaculture industry and in marine ecotourism, recently spending two years managing the operation of a marine ecotourism company providing whale watching and offshore expeditions in the southwest of WA.
Clare has a background in marine conservation and has worked in Australia and overseas with community groups and non-government organisations.
She has a working knowledge of the commercial fishing sector in Western Australia and is skilled at engaging with stakeholders on a wide range of issues.
Clare has previously worked at the Western Rock Lobster Council, the peak body for Australia’s most valuable single-species wild capture fishery as a Communications and Research Officer. She represented industry views at a variety of forums as a part of that role.
David (Wardong) is compassionate about his Nyungar country, which includes the sea-country in the Southwest region of Western Australia.
He is currently working as a consultant across all streams of Natural Resource Management and is presently addressing the issues of Native Title and the Sovereign rights of the Nyungar Nation to fishing and marine parks in this jurisdiction.
David has proactively worked with Government and industry to provide advice on Natural Resource Management topics through a range of boards and committees, including the Forest Stewardship Council, Muresk Institute Advisory Committee and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council.
Bronwyn is an experienced researcher, educator and science communicator with over 20 years research experience in temperate marine environments.
She is currently Deputy Dean Research in the Faculty of Sciences and Deputy Director of the Environment Institute at the University of Adelaide and President of the World Council of Fisheries Societies.
Bronwyn has proactively worked with government and industry to provide advice on fisheries and marine science topics through a range of boards and committees, including the Primary Industries Research Providers Network and the National Committee for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
Michael is an avid recreational fisher with long-standing family ties to south-west Western Australia that date back to the 1830s.
Michael is a member of Recfishwest and currently represents the recreational fishing sector on their Rock Lobster Advisory Committee
Michael is committed to improving understanding of local marine environments and protecting them – he has previously provided advice on such matters to the State Department of Environment and Conservation’s Committee for Kilcarnup, Joeys Nose and Gnoocardup.
Lee is a dedicated diver with over 20 years’ diving experience. As owner and operator of Perth Scuba, Lee has spent hundreds of hours in, and on, the waters off the south-west coast of Western Australia.
In 2015, Lee accompanied a delegation from the Conservation Council of Western Australia to Canberra to highlight the importance of marine parks and their role in supporting the local dive industry.
He is currently a member of the Dive Industry Association of Australia and represents West Australian views in this forum.
Tim is a Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology at The University of Western Australia and is a Project Leader in the National Environmental Science Program Marine Biodiversity Hub.
Tim has published widely on using no-take marine reserves to investigate the effects of recreational and commercial fishing, he has pioneered national scale data syntheses from baited cameras and works on socio-economic assessments of marine parks.
Tim is focused on supporting robust management planning and delivery for Australian Marine Parks and contributing to stakeholder engagement and communication efforts.
Melissa is an experienced researcher and marine educator who works to improve community involvement in Indigenous resource management, fisheries and urban governance decision making processes.
She currently leads the ACE (Adaptation Community Environment) Research Group, which focusses on doing applied research that builds links between research, community and achieves policy outcomes.
She is a member of the World Commission of Protected Areas, the Marine Biosecurity Taskforce (Australia) and the Scientific Expert Panel for the State of Victoria’s Marine and Coastal Council.
Previous roles have included co-leading the Indigenous Theme for the Social and Institutional National Climate Change Adaptation Research Network, Charing the REDMAP Community Advisory Committee and being a Director on the Board of Directors for the Wilderness Society in South Australia.
Melissa’s breadth of committee and board experience will be invaluable for the advisory committee.
Peter is a dedicated conservationist who has been awarded South Australian of the Year for Environmental Protection and in 2016, named Australian Environmentalist of the Year by the Bob Brown Foundation.
Peter has a background in environmental law and expertise in marine and terrestrial protected areas. He is currently the Director of the Wilderness Society in South Australia and has previously held roles on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Australian Executive Committee and Marine Parks Council of South Australia.
Gail is an Esperance Nyungar woman and also a descendant from the Mirrning People (whale people). She currently chairs the Esperance Tjaltjraak Native Title Aboriginal Corporation, RNTBC (ETNTAC), a position she has held since the Corporation’s establishment in 2015.
Gail has significant experience working in the private sector, particularly in the food industry and in mining and mining services. Gail and her husband Mark currently own and operate two businesses, Kaata Tidje, where she provides a corporate and long-term strategic approach to the management of Indigenous issues through a Cultural Competency Framework and Esperance Eco Discovery Tours a 4WD tourism business in Esperance.
Gail previously sat on IBA Board, Indigenous Community Volunteers Board, Tourism WA Board and WA Aboriginal Tourism Committee (WAITOC) and currently sits on the Australian Golden Outback Board.
Terry Romaro OAM
Terry has extensive commercial fisheries experience. He currently sits on the Australian Fisheries Management Authority’s Tropical Tuna Management Advisory Committee, Southern Bluefin Tuna Management Advisory Committee and Squid Research Advisory Group, as well as the Western Australian Purse Seine Management Advisory Committee.
In 2009, Terry received the Order of Australia Medal for contributions to the commercial fishing industry in Australia.
Sophie is a marine scientist with a strong interest in communications and community engagement.
She currently coordinates the marine monitoring program at Busselton Jetty, oversees the jetty’s environmental management planning and previously ran their marine education tours.
Sophie is a member of the Australian Marine Science Association and Malacological Society of Australasia and has previously volunteered with the Western Australian Museum Laboratories and State Department of Fisheries.
Stephen van Leeuwen
Stephen is a Wardandi Noongar man from the Harris Family in the South West Boojarah Native Title Claim area. The Harris Family have strong cultural connections to the waters in the South-west Marine Region, including Geographe and South-west Corner Marine Parks.
Stephen has over 30 years’ experience in natural resource management and currently provides strategic guidance on biodiversity and conservation science matters to the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
Stephen is committed to ensuring Australia’s First Peoples have the opportunity to take an active role in the management of country, including involvement in the co-design and delivery of management programs.
He is focused on ensuring such projects not only deliver strong conservation and biodiversity outcomes but also benefits for social wellbeing, economic prosperity and the cultural security of community.
John has been an active recreational game fisher since 1958, during which time he has run numerous club, State and national associations.
He has served on the Recfishwest board and also the Game Fishing Association of Australia as Western Australia’s Executive Officer for the past 10 years, and is a current member of Perth Game Fishing Club’s management committee.
Over the span of his fishing career, he has amassed a wealth of fishing knowledge and collected significant catch data.
Learn more about what’s being discussed at committee meetings and related content.
After every meeting, we’ll summarise discussion topics and important points in a meeting communique.
Meeting one: Tuesday 21 May 2019
The inaugural meeting of the South-west Marine Parks Advisory Committee (SWMPAC) marked the beginning of a two year term for the 14 newly appointed members. Individual members were selected from a large number of applicants who responded to a public expression of interest process open to all Australians last year.
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For all these inquiries and more, please email the Committee Secretariat.
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