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Traditional Owner-led Nature-based Economy Lead - Brisbane / Cairns / Townsville

Great Barrier Reef Foundation

2 days left to apply


The Great Barrier Reef is a global icon and an irreplaceable ecosystem. It holds significant cultural, environmental, and economic value to Australia and is home to thousands of species of marine life. Our Reef is facing increasing pressure from multiple threats, the most pressing being climate change. Without intervention, including a rapid upscaling of restoration and conservation actions, we are projected to lose 90% of coral reefs by 2050.

For over 20 years the Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) has served as the lead charity for the Reef, forging partnerships and investment across business, philanthropy, science, conservation, community, First Nations and government to design and deliver solutions that deliver a better future for coral reefs. Right now, the GBRF manages a portfolio (valued at $800m) of over 400 projects involving more than 500 delivery partners.


This role within the Traditional Owner Partnership team will lead an exciting and ambitious new program which aims to catalyse a Traditional Owner-led nature-based economy across Australia’s Great Barrier Reef coast. This program will be designed to deliver on Reef Traditional Owner priorities to have sustainably funded and thriving community-driven Land and Sea Country enterprises that deliver enduring benefits for the Great Barrier Reef and its catchments, and local Traditional Owner communities.

Throughout its seven years of implementation, this program will explore and test opportunities to strengthen financial sustainability spanning the entire readiness spectrum from improved fee for service delivery models and the potential for restructuring existing government funding through to emerging nature markets and the increasing demand for nature-based solutions.

This position requires exceptional relationship building skills and a strong background in economic development. Your experience will have combined financial management and commercial acumen with deep relationships and experience in partnering with Traditional Owner organisations, and you will bring to the role a strong network of individuals and organisations across these domains.

This role will involve leadership responsibilities, partner and relationship management, program design and oversight. This role will also require the right balance of strategic thinking and the ability to put this strategic thinking into practice through on-ground implementation.

Over time, this role will supervise a number of program managers, but for the first 12 months will focus on scoping and detailed program planning and design, requiring extensive consultation with external experts, including Reef Traditional Owners.

Applicants who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander are strongly encouraged to apply.


  1. A degree or demonstrated expertise in a discipline such as business, finance or economic development; additional qualifications of experience in conservation or environmental management is desirable but not essential
  2. At least 7 years’ experience applying domain expertise to practical impact-driven implementation (e.g. through government, NGO, foundation or corporate sector)
  3. A minimum of 5 years experience working on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs.
  4. Demonstrated experience in enterprise development and the implementation of new enterprise models is highly desirable
  5. Experience designing, measuring, evaluating and reporting on the impact of projects and programs and drawing on the lessons learned
  6. Experience leading high performing teams and building and maintaining effective partnerships
  7. Demonstrated high-level of cultural competency and trusted relationships with Reef Traditional Owners
  8. Ability to thrive in a fast-paced and complex environment with rapidly changing responsibilities
  9. Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with experts and non-experts both orally and in writing and translate outcomes into policy and practice.


Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville, or other location within Australia for the right candidate


  • Permanent Full-time
  • Flexible work arrangements are available
  • First Nations people strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Applications will be assessed as we receive them

A position description is attached.

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