The Panel

Audit Panel

The media release of 10 August 2011 announcing the Panel can be found here...


Associate Professor R.J.S. (Bob) Beeton AM FIEANZ

Associate Professor Bob Beeton is employed by the University of Queensland where he teaches environmental problem solving.  He was acting Head and Head of the Department of Management Studies from 1992-1997.  From 1997-2002 he was foundation Head of the School of Natural and Rural Systems Management. He has held many University positions in addition to Australian and State Government appointments.

Associate Professor Beeton has served on 26 Government Committees for Queensland, NSW and the Commonwealth, in seven cases as Chair. From 2000-2011 he chaired the Commonwealth Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC). He chaired the Commonwealth 2006 State of the Environment Report, the 2000 Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) Inquiry into National Park Management in Queensland, the 1999 NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Visions Implementation Committee and from 2000-2005 the Centre for Rural and Regional Innovation. 

Associate Professor has also served on The Environment Protection Council (Queensland), Committee for Visions for the New Millennium (NSW NPWS), Agricultural Production Systems Research Unit Future Steering Committee, State of the Environment Advisory Committee 2001, Natural Heritage Trust Regional Assessment Panel - Western Queensland, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Master Planning Advisory Committee, Queensland Government Ministerial Regional Forum for South-east Queensland, Board of Agricultural Production Systems Research Unit, Board of Rural Extension Centre and the Greening Lockyer Working Group.

Associate Professor Beeton was a participating observer of the National Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) Advisory Council and the National Land and Water Audit Advisory Council. He was Deputy Chair of the Atherton Tablelands Sustainable Regions Advisory Committee, National Research Priorities Standing Committee, Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility Advisory Committee and the Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities (CERF) Advisory Committee.  

Associate Professor Beeton is currently a member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication and a member of the Lockyer Valley Regional Recovery Task Force Natural Environments Sub-Committee.

Professor Beeton has supervised 47 higher degrees.  He and his student’s current research interests are conservation, environmental problem solving, and sustainability issues associated with both natural and rural systems and communities in Australia and internationally.  He has published 124 scholarly works and numerous reports to Government. He has conducted 36 short courses and 29 consultancies for industry and Government. His most recent consultancy was as Chair of the Expert Working Group Review of Biodiversity Decline on Christmas Island.  He also regularly works with local government and community groups in regional Australia.

Professor Beeton has received a 1988 Australian Bicentennial award, the 1994 University of Queensland Excellence in Teaching Award and the 2000 University of Queensland Affirmative Action Commendation. In 2000 he was elected a Fellow of the Environmental Institute of Australia and New Zealand, in 2009 was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to environmental and natural resource management and in 2009 was named one of 15 Lockyer Legends his for service to the environment and community.



Fisheries science and Marine Protected Area (MPA) research

Professor Colin Buxton (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania)

Professor Colin Buxton is the Director of the Fisheries, Aquaculture and Coasts Centre at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania.  He was the inaugural director of the Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute (TAFI), a post he held since 1998, until TAFI became a part of the new IMAS in 2011.

Professor Buxton’s expertise spans biology, ecology and fisheries of inshore reef associated fishes, particularly those that are important to recreational and commercial fisheries. This includes examining life-history changes in exploited populations using Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as a baseline for unexploited populations. Current research focus includes understanding MPA impacts on the coastal environment and assessing their efficacy as a fisheries management tool.

Professor Buxton’s experience includes an MSC (cum laude) from the University of Cape Town, a PhD from Rhodes University and appointments at the Port Elizabeth Museum (Marine Biologist), Rhodes University (Associate Professor) and Australian Maritime College (Head of the Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Environment). He is a frequent consultant and advisor to governments and other public and private agencies in Australia, Africa and the United States. A graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, he has served on the Board of several companies and organizations, including the Aquaculture, Aquafin and Seafood Cooperative Research Centres. He has an extensive publication list.

Professor Buxton co-authored the former NSW Government’s 2009 Independent Review of Marine Park Science in NSW, along with Professor Fairweather (see below).


Economic evaluation

Mr Greg Cutbush (ANU Enterprise Pty Ltd (ANUE), Australian National University, Canberra, ACT)

Greg Cutbush is a Visiting Economist at ANUE where he assists with project selection and team building, but predominantly works as a freelance economics consultant. He has 15 years experience prior to this in the public sector and 20 years in the private sector. In consulting, his history includes a term as Vice President in the economics consulting firm CRA International (2005-2007), which followed a lengthy consulting period with ACIL Tasman (1988-2005). His main consulting areas are: competition policy; international trade; infrastructure policy and cost-benefit analysis.

Greg’s earlier positions have included Assistant Commissioner at the Industries Assistance Commission, where he worked almost continuously from 1975 to 1988. He worked from 1979 to 1981 with the Agricultural Policy Division of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris, and since 1983 has worked with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank on assignments in 10 developing countries.He has published widely – on trade policy, professional regulations, agricultural contracting, forestry, mining, airports, defence, health & aged care, spectrum allocation racing and biosecurity.

Greg Cutbush’s domestic work has covered competition issues associated with all the key forms of infrastructure and expert witness statements for court cases on subjects as diverse as petrol retailing, diet-milk, pathology services, irrigation entitlements and fishing rights.

Greg has worked for the Commonwealth Department of Environment on airport and irrigation projects and his many assignments for the NSW Government over the past decade have included a National Competition Policy Review of The Lord Howe Island Act for the National Parks and Widlife Service.



Marine ecology and biodiversity protection

Professor Peter Fairweather (Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia)

Professor Peter Fairweather has been Professor of Marine Biology at Flinders University, SA since 2001 and was also Director of the Lincoln Marine Science Centre there from 2001-2008.

Professor Fairweather’s research interests include studies of food webs in a variety of coastal marine and estuarine ecosystems, the influences of groundwater upon nearshore coastal ecosystems, scaling issues and patchiness of biological community structure, human impacts as disturbances, and ecological monitoring via the use of bioindicators. He also has extensive experience with land based impacts, including serving on a deep ocean outfall steering committee

Professor Fairweather is currently seconded to work as a senior scientific advisor to the South Australian Department for Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) where he is also a member of the Scientific Working Group for Marine Parks and Marine Planning.

Professor Fairweather is a member of the editorial boards of the international journal Marineand Freshwater Researchand the journal Ecological Management & Restoration. He was the President of the Ecological Society of Australia (ESA) from 2005-2007, the key professional body for Australia’s scientific ecologists with a membership of over 1 400.

Professor Fairweather chaired the former Government’s 2009 Independent Review of Marine Park Science in NSW, of which Professor Buxton was also a member (see above).



Human impacts in the marine environment

Associate Professor Emma Johnston (University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales)

Associate Professor Johnston has a BSc (Hons) and a PhD from the University of Melbourne.  Since completing her PhD in 2002 she has worked as an academic at the University of New South Wales in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences. She is currently Deputy Director of the Evolution and Ecology Research Centre (EERC), Associate Editor of Marine Ecotoxicology for the journal Ecotoxicology, and a member of the Editorial Board for the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. In 2007 she was a Visiting Researcher at the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 

Associate Professor Johnston’s research investigates human impacts in marine communities in a program that both progresses our understanding of fundamental ecology, and provides insights and recommendations for the management of marine systems. She has an extensive publication record and her research has been continuously funded by the Australian Research Council since 2004. In 2010 Associate Professor Johnston was awarded an Australian Research Fellowship (ARF) to investigate ‘Bioinvasions: the interactive effects of propagule pressure and pollution’.

Associate Professor Johnston’s research is at the interface of fundamental and applied ecology and she frequently interacts with government and industry bodies. She has contributed expert opinion to: the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (Federal government), Biosecurity New Zealand (NZ government), the Department of Industry and Innovation (NSW), and the Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW). She is an invited member of Working Group 2 (Biology and Monitoring) for the Review of the Australia and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) Fresh and Marine Water Quality Guidelines. She consults with industry through the development and implementation of environmental monitoring programs.



Social policy and planning

Dr Roberta Ryan (Director Urbis Consulting, Sydney, New South Wales)

Dr Roberta Ryan is a leading social policy and planning analyst with over 25 years' experience in Australia and internationally. She has developed new approaches in the application of research to policy, social planning, evaluation, community engagement, stakeholder management, social sustainability, social and strategic planning, and land-use and development frameworks.

Dr Ryan has extensive experience in the design, development and facilitation of complex social and community planning processes for all levels of government and the private sector. Sustainability initiatives have included mass media campaigns, local government and industry sustainability initiatives, stakeholder management, communications and facilitation to deliver large projects.


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