Go to top of page

The Director of National Parks

The Director of National Parks is responsible for the conservation and management of the Australian Government’s terrestrial and marine protected area estates established under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

As at 30 June 2020, our area of responsibility included seven terrestrial reserves1 (six national parks and the Australian National Botanic Gardens) and 59 Australian Marine Parks. The location of these Commonwealth parks and gardens are shown in Figure 1: Location of Commonwealth parks and gardens that are the responsibility of the Director of National Parks in 2019–20 with further details for each park and garden available in Appendix A: Overview of our parks and reserves.

Three of our parks, Booderee, Kakadu and Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa, are on land wholly or partly leased to the Director of National Parks by the Aboriginal Owners. These parks are jointly managed by the Director and a Board of Management and are made available by their Traditional Owners to visitors and tour operators to enjoy and appreciate.

What we do

Parks Australia’s vision is for outstanding natural places that enhance Australia’s well-being. Parks Australia’s long-term objectives are described in our three purposes:

  1. Resilient places and ecosystems – to protect and conserve the natural and cultural values of Commonwealth reserves.
  2. Multiple benefits to Traditional Owners and local communities – to support the aspirations of Traditional Owners and local communities in managing land and sea country.
  3. Amazing destinations – to offer world class natural and cultural experiences, enhancing Australia’s visitor economy.

Our four ‘ways of working’ are the ways we achieve our purposes:

  • Evidence based management – science, research and traditional knowledge are used to make management decisions.
  • Ecologically sustainable use – Parks Australia acts to enhance Australia’s social and economic well-being through ecologically sustainable use of our places, with awareness of our own environmental footprint.
  • Partnerships and co-investments – partnerships and working together with our stakeholders to support delivery of innovative programmes that achieve our goals.
  • Responsive organisation – Parks Australia is an efficient and effective agency with a proud and motivated workforce, supported by efficient business systems.

Our values and approach

As Australian Public Service employees, Parks Australia employees uphold the values of the service. As conservation area managers we strive for an approach that is:

  • Knowledge-based – we use evidence about our conservation assets and management performance to make decisions about future management activities and investments.
  • Transparent – we use clear criteria to determine our priorities and we communicate and explain our decisions.
  • Accountable – we clearly articulate what we seek to achieve through management interventions and measure our progress towards set outcomes.
  • Collaborative – we seek and support genuine partnerships to deliver conservation and tourism outcomes.
  • Adaptive – we incorporate lessons and performance information into management and business planning.
  • Innovative – we create the space for devising creative solutions and promote exposure of our staff to diverse experiences in conservation area management.

Brief history of our reserves

Brief history of our parks and gardens

1977 Uluṟu (Ayers Rock-Mount Olga) National Park is declared. Name changed to Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park in 1993.

1979 Kakadu National Park is declared.

1980 Christmas Island National Park is declared.

1982 Lihou Reef National Nature Reserve and Coringa-Herald National Nature Reserve are declared, the first of 12 individual marine reserves to be declared in Commonwealth waters between 1982 and 2000.

1986 Norfolk Island National Park and Botanic Garden is declared.

1991 Australian National Botanic Gardens is declared.

1992 Jervis Bay National Park is declared. Name changed to Booderee National Park in 1995.

1995 Pulu Keeling National Park is declared.

2002 Heard Island and McDonald Islands Marine Reserves is declared.

2007 South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network is declared comprising fourteen individual reserves.

2012 Four Commonwealth Marine Reserves networks, together comprising 43 marine reserves, and the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve are declared. 12 pre-existing marine reserves are incorporated.

2013 Management plan for 14 marine reserves in the South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network commenced.

2017 Commonwealth Marine Reserves are renamed Australian Marine Parks.

2018 Management plans commence for 43 Australian Marine Parks across four networks (the Temperate East, South-west, North-west and North Networks), and the Coral Sea Marine Park. Management plans are in place for the 59 Australian Marine Parks.

Figure 1: Location of Commonwealth parks and gardens that are the responsibility of the Director of National Parks in 2019–20 Map of Australia highlighting the locations of terrestrial and marine reserves under the responsibility of the Director of National Parks.

Table 1: Key to the location of the Commonwealth parks and gardens  Table signifying the names of each terrestrial and marine park reserve highlighted in figure 1.


  1. The Director is responsible for the administration of areas referred to as ‘Commonwealth reserves’ in the EPBC Act. We acknowledge that this terminology may cause distress to some Indigenous people and have changed these references to 'Commonwealth parks and gardens' in this report when not referring to the legislative responsibilities of the Director.