AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY WINNER
2017 Australian Award for Excellence in Women’s Leadership.
Sally has dedicated more than 20 years of her life to protected areas – both terrestrial and marine – and working with Australia’s Aboriginal traditional owners to jointly manage their country. In her current role as Australia’s Director of National Parks she has successfully developed new management plans for parks such as Kakadu, refocusing efforts to prioritise actions on the ground, particularly in relation to the removal of invasive species. She has introduced a biocontrol program to control the invasive yellow crazy ant on Christmas Island, to improve survival rates for the island’s iconic red crab population. Feral cats remain a challenge in Australia, particularly northern Australia, and she has worked closely with numerous groups and individuals including the Threatened Species Commissioner to tackle this key threat. She has a goal of making Christmas Island feral cat free by 2020 – and is very committed to that goal.
Sally has also overseen increased research into more innovative conservation solutions on the ground. She has overseen the translocation of several key species to feral-free islands in order to create insurance populations – such as the brush-tailed rabbit-rat and Norfolk Island’s green parrot. She has led her team to shift approaches to fire management as well as streamline the business, planning and tourism processes to better direct resources where they’re needed.
Sally has a passion for increasing Indigenous employment and training in land management. Helping look after three jointly managed parks, Booderee, and the World Heritage listed Kakadu and Uluru, has been one of the great joys and challenges of her life. Introducing opportunities for these local communities through sustainable eco-tourism has been a key priority.
As the former Chief Executive of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and head of the New South Wales park agency, Sally had the great honour of working with then Director of National Parks Peter Cochrane to secure the 10th IUCN World Parks Congress for Sydney. Bringing together so many people from so many fields right around our world to Australia to share solutions, including the role of business and economics in conservation.
Put simply, healthy parks mean healthy people. Looking after our land, our sea, our air and our waters is critical to the future of this planet. It has been Sally’s great joy to be part of finding solutions to contribute to the global effort to make our world a better, healthier place.
The Director of National Parks has responsibility under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to manage: 58 of Australia’s proclaimed marine reserves; six terrestrial parks, Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, Pulu (Cocos) Keeling and jointly manage with traditional owners Booderee, Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta; the successful species discovery program Bush Blitz; and manage the Australian National Botanic Gardens including the National Seed Bank and Australian Biological Resources Study to conduct and promote taxonomic research in Australia.
Director of National Parks, Parks Australia