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Corporate governance

The Director of National Parks

The Director of National Parks is a corporate Commonwealth entity under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). The Director is a corporation sole constituted by the person who holds the office that is also named the Director of National Parks. At June 30, 2020 the office holder was Dr James Findlay, appointed by the Governor General on the 26 November 2018.

See Table 11: Details of Accountable Authority during the reporting period (2019-20) for full details of the entity’s Accountable Authorities during the 2019–20 reporting period.

Table 11: Details of Accountable Authority during the reporting period (2019-20)

Dr James Findlay

Qualifications of the Accountable Authority

  Doctor of Philosophy (Applied Science).

  Bachelor of Science with Honours First Class (Zoology).

  Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Experience of the Accountable Authority

  More than 20 years’ experience in senior public service roles spanning policy, regulation and scientific research

  Eight years as CEO and Commissioner at the Australian Fisheries Management Authority

Position Title

Director of National Parks

Date of commencement

26 November 2018

Date of cessation

25 August 2020

The Director is accountable to the Minister with responsibility for administration of the EPBC Act. As at 30 June 2020, the responsible Minister was the Hon Sussan Ley MP. The EPBC Act requires the Director to perform functions and exercise powers in accordance with any directions given by the Minister unless the EPBC Act provides otherwise. During 2019–20 no ministerial directions were given to the Director and there were no directions continuing from previous years.

The Minister responsible for the PGPA Act could, under section 22 of the Act, make a Government Policy Order specifying a general policy of the Australian Government that applies to the Director. No Government Policy Orders were issued to the Director in 2019–20.

Senior executive management team

During the reporting period, the senior executive management team comprised the Director of National Parks and five Assistant Secretaries; Ms Kim Farrant, Mr Karl Dyason, Ms Carlyn Waters, Dr Brant Smith and Dr Judy West. Mr Jason Mundy also formed part of the senior executive management team for part of the year. See Chapter 3 - Organisational Structure for biographic details of senior executive management at 30 June 2020.

Team members are located close to the business of land and sea management. Dr West is based at the grounds of the Australian National Botanic Gardens, while Dr Findlay, Ms Waters, Dr Smith, Ms Farrant, Mr Mundy and Mr Dyason conducted regular travel to our offices at Booderee, Kakadu, Hobart, Uluṟu‑Kata Tjuṯa and the Island National Parks until March 2020, at which point non-essential travel was restricted due to COVID-19. The team meets regularly to consider strategic matters, monitor performance against the corporate plan and agency business and to discuss and implement recommendations from audits and investigations related to work, health and safety matters.

Assessment of the agency’s Key Management Personnel (KMP) for the 2019–20 Financial Year has deemed only the Director of National Parks (outside the Minister) to be a KMP. As the authority of a sole corporation, and KMP, the Director of National Parks has and exercises, direct control and responsibility over the operation and strategic direction of the agency.

As required under Paragraph 17BE(ta) of the PGPA Rule, remuneration information for key management personnel is in Table 12: Remuneration for DNP key management personnel and Table 13: Remuneration for DNP senior executives.

Senior management team

The senior management team comprises terrestrial and marine park managers and senior section leaders. Senior section leaders assist park managers in delivering priority management and operational plans. The senior management team holds fortnightly meetings (via telephone or video) to discuss priorities, monitor performance and facilitate communication. These meetings also provide an opportunity to discuss Australian Government and corporate priorities and initiatives. An annual Parks Australia Leadership Forum also involves all senior managers to build leadership and governance capability, improve internal communication and strengthen collaboration. The 2020 Parks Australia Leadership Forum was not held due to COVID-19 safety measures.

Parks Australia faces unique administration challenges including widely dispersed and remote workplaces with cross-cultural environments. Our park managers assist in keeping us connected to the interests and concerns of local communities and provide opportunities to share knowledge and insights. Coordination and cooperation between the senior executive and senior management teams is fundamental to Parks Australia’s endeavours.

Table 12: Remuneration for DNP key management personnel

Short-term benefits

Post-employment benefits

Other long-term benefits

Termination benefits

Total remuneration


Position title

Base salary


Other benefits and allowances

Superannuation contributions

Long service leave

Other long-term benefits

Dr James Findlay

Director of National Parks









Table 13: Remuneration for DNP senior executives

Short-term benefits

Post-employment benefits

Other long-term benefits

Termination benefits

Total remuneration

Total remuneration bands

Number of senior executives

Average base salary

Average bonuses

Average other benefits and allowances

Average superannuation contributions

Average long service leave

Average other long-term benefits

Average termination benefits

Average total remuneration

$0 - $225,000










$225,001 - $250,000










Corporate boards

The Parks Australia Executive Board provides strategic advice and guidance to the Director of National Parks on core business activities and is responsible for overall agency administration. The Board has oversight of budget, risk management, human resources, health and safety, strategic direction as well as policy development. Board members include the Director and Assistant Secretaries, with the Chief Finance Officer serving as advisor.

The Parks Project Board monitors and supports the delivery and resourcing of priority projects, major capital works and Australian Government commitments in line with our Project Management Framework. The Board comprises the Director and Assistant Secretaries.

The three Boards of Management for Booderee, Kakadu and Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Parks are discussed later in the Consultation mechanisms section of this chapter.