Go to top of page

About us

Parks Australia operates under a five-branch structure, with the Parks Executive team comprising the Director of National Parks and five Assistant Secretaries. At 30 June 2020 these were Dr James Findlay, Ms Kim Farrant, Mr Karl Dyason, Ms Carlyn Waters, Dr Brant Smith and Dr Judy West. Mr Jason Mundy filled the Assistant Secretary, Australian Marine Parks position, prior to Ms Kim Farrant taking over the role in November 2019.

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.

The Director was assisted by staff of Parks Australia, a Division of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. In this report, reference to Parks Australia means the Director and Parks Australia staff. Figure 2: Parks Australia organisational chart at 30 June 2020 shows the Parks Australia organisation structure.

The Director of National Parks is responsible for managing the Heard Island and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve, but the Director has delegated all powers and functions under the EPBC Act to the Director of the Australian Antarctic Division.

Parks Australia underwent significant changes in 2019–20 that affected our organisational structure. Outcomes from the Operations and Corporate Change Project in 2018–19 embedded our enabling services in the Department, resulting in some changes to the organisational structure to support the Secretary of the Department and the Director to deliver more efficient and streamlined corporate services, while articulating mutual accountabilities in the management of safety, security, human and financial resources and improving the transparency of service costs.

Additionally, from February 2, 2020, Machinery of Government changes moved Parks Australia to a Division of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (formerly Environment and Energy).

Figure 2: Parks Australia organisational chart at 30 June 2020 Chart showing the organisational structure of Parks Australia at 30th of June 2020.

Senior Executive Staff

James Findlay

Photograph of Dr James Findlay, the Director of National Parks.
Director of National Parks

Dr James Findlay GAICD was appointed as Director of National Parks in 2018. His career spans more than 20 years in various senior government roles including international and domestic policy, industry regulation and scientific research mainly focused on fisheries, land use, climate change and drought. Most recently, James was the Chief Executive Officer and Commissioner at the Australian Fisheries Management Authority where he worked closely with Australia’s commercial and recreational fishers, including fishing communities in the Torres Strait, and other marine stakeholders.

James holds a doctorate in marine science from the University of Tasmania and an undergraduate science degree with First Class Honours in zoology from the University of Queensland.

Kim Farrant

Assistant Secretary - Australian Marine Parks

Kim is responsible for the implementation and management of the 58 Australian Marine Parks established to conserve Australia’s marine biodiversity and promote sustainable use of resources.

Since 2010, she has held a range of senior executive roles across the Australian Public Service including roles in the Attorney-General’s Department, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the Department of Industry. Kim joined the former Department of the Environment and Energy in 2016 and has worked on issues including environment protection, food waste, fuel standards, product stewardship and international climate change.

She holds a Bachelor of Science majoring in microbiology and genetics, a Bachelor of Laws, a Graduate Diploma in Public Law and has made progress towards a Masters in International Law, all from the Australian National University in Canberra.

Karl Dyason

Photograph of Mr Karl Dyason, the Assistant Secretary of the Uluṟu and Island Parks Branch
Assistant Secretary - Uluṟu and Island Parks Branch

Karl is responsible for the management of the National Parks at Uluṟu‑Kata-Tjuṯa, Christmas Island, Pulu Keeling and Norfolk Island. Karl has had extensive experience in engaging with Indigenous communities, working with Traditional Owners, Art Centres, Ranger Groups and other stakeholders to achieve social, economic, health and environmental outcomes for Indigenous people.

In the past Karl has worked in senior positions for both the Northern Territory and Australian Governments in a range of roles including community development, business management, accounting, system implementation, strategic planning and corporate services. Most recently, Karl spent nine years working and living in remote communities in the Northern Territory, the last three years as Chief Executive Officer of the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation in Maningrida.

Carlyn Waters

Photograph of Ms Carlyn Waters, the Assistant Secretary of the Booderee and Business Services Branch
Assistant Secretary – Booderee and Business Services Branch

Carlyn oversees Parks Australia’s enabling services including visitor experiences, legal advice, human resources, learning and development, media and marketing, finance and asset management, security and property services; whilst managing Booderee National Park, a park jointly managed by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council and the Director of National Parks.

Carlyn has over 20 years’ experience working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs at local, state and national levels and is committed to supporting employment, education and economic opportunities for Indigenous people. She is experienced in managing large, geographically dispersed multidisciplinary teams throughout Australia and delivering on national policy initiatives and programs.

She holds a Masters (Indigenous Social Policy), a Graduate Certificate in Business (Public Sector Management) and a Bachelor of Business in Public Relations and Organisation Communication.

Brant Smith

Photograph of Mr Brant Smith, the Assistant Secretary of the Kakadu and Strategic Priorities Branch

Brant is responsible for Kakadu National Park and strategic priorities across the jointly managed national parks – Kakadu, Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa and Booderee.

Brant’s 17-year career across the Commonwealth includes senior government roles in biosecurity, quarantine, public sector innovation, agriculture and providing environmental advice to Cabinet. He has also worked in Indigenous employment, economic development and environmental issues (including working on-country and Indigenous protected areas management), risk and assurance, and program management in Indigenous Affairs. Before joining Government, Brant worked as a large animal veterinarian at Myrtleford, Moruya and the University of Sydney cattle unit in Camden. Brant has a Masters in Veterinary Public Health and Management and a Bachelor of Veterinary Science, both from the University of Sydney.

Judy West AO

Photograph of Dr Judy West AO, the Assistant Secretary of the ANBG, Partnerships and Science Branch
Assistant Secretary – ANBG, Partnerships and Science Branch

As Executive Director of the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Judy provides direction and leadership for this national institution. She is also responsible for developing and implementing a program of Parks Partnerships and oversight of Science Policy for Parks Australia.

Judy has more than 30 years’ experience in scientific research and policy as a research scientist in CSIRO Plant Industry and Director of the Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research and the Australian National Herbarium. She holds an adjunct professorial position at the Australian National University. For her contributions to Australian plant systematics and Australia’s Virtual Herbarium, she was awarded the Nancy Burbidge Memorial Medal in 2001 and an Order of Australia in 2003. Judy’s scientific expertise is in plant systematics and phylogenetics, biodiversity informatics and conservation biology. Using her skills developing partnerships that link science and policy, Judy is building an active science and knowledge-management network in Parks Australia.